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Adams Considering Cutting Regulations To Spur More Affordable Housing


Mayor Eric Adams' administration, faced with a dire citywide housing shortage and a major slowdown in affordable production, is considering removing the environmental study requirement in rezoning applications to try to speed up construction.

These kinds of studies go with almost all applications for changes in land use and examine the kinds of impacts a new project would have on an area. But Adams is now considering allowing developments of 200 units or fewer to skip that step, Politico reported, citing two anonymous city officials.

The reviews look at issues like school enrollments, traffic impacts and access to light. The officials told Politico that Adams wouldn't need to have the procedure change approved by the city council, and if it were to go ahead, it would speed up the process for a significant number of developments.

“The statistics that underline today’s housing crisis — they’re chronic, they’re acute, they haven’t budged,” Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer, who oversees the Department of City Planning, told Politico. “Our goal here is to identify the criteria, the threshold that we should be using so that projects that hit that criteria don’t have to go through the lengthy, Byzantine, almost Kafka-esque process of environmental review that they have to go through today.”

The housing shortage is under even greater scrutiny than usual, with rents in the city soaring over the past year. The net effective median rental price in Manhattan was $3,982 in September, per data from appraisal firm Miller Samuel, a nearly 24% increase from last year. Plus, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development financed the creation and preservation of 16,042 units in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021 — a 45% drop from the previous 12 months, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.

The Real Estate Board Of New York has estimated the city needs 560,000 new units by 2030 to keep up with its predicted population and job growth.