Press Releases (November 2015)

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Manhattan Borough Board Votes Against Mayor's Zoning Proposals, Outlines Needed Fixes

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2015

At a special meeting Monday morning, the Manhattan Borough Board formally voted to deny its approval to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Zoning for Quality & Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) Zoning proposals unless a range of outstanding major concerns are addressed. The Borough Board, made up of Manhattan’s Community Board chairs and City Council members, recommended disapproval of both plans by votes of 12-0, with four abstentions.

“I hope the roadmap set out by our Manhattan Borough Board today will lead to major changes in the Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plans,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m glad the administration has finally begun taking our concerns seriously, but these plans need major changes before we can accept them.”

The Borough Board’s resolution cited a number of measures necessary to make the MIH and ZQA plans acceptable. Click the following links to see descriptions of those measures, watch video of the meeting, and read the complete Borough Board resolutions.

Borough President Brewer's office will issue a formal recommendation on the ZQA and MIH zoning proposals by Dec. 11. The City Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing on the proposals on Dec. 16.

Community Vigil and Moment of Silence for Victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria

For Immediate Release: November 20, 2015

This evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer hosted a community vigil and moment of silence for the victims of recent Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria, joined by Acting Consul-General Sa'ad Muhammad Bello outside the Nigerian Consulate General in New York. On Tuesday of this week, bomb blasts in the Nigerian cities of Yola and Kano claimed the lives of at least 49 people and injured at least 130 more.The Global Terrorism Index lists Boko Haram as the world's deadliest terrorist organization, responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, mostly in Nigeria and other northern African nations. Daesh, also known as "ISIS" or "ISIL," is ranked second.

"We're standing together with Acting Consul-General Bello in solidarity with the people of Nigeria, to express our deepest sorrow for those viciously murdered in the cities of Yola and Kano," said Borough President Brewer. "We grieve today for the Nigerian people and for all people around the world bravely standing up to brutal extremists."

Brewer and Acting Consul-General Bello were joined by members of Manhattan's African immigrant community and the Borough President's African Immigrant Task Force, including Nigerian-American community leader Joyce Adewumi. Ms. Adewumi serves as a member of Manhattan Community Board 9 and is the founder of the New York African Chorus Ensemble.

The Global Terrorism Index lists Boko Haram as the world's deadliest terrorist organization, responsible for 6,644 deaths in 2014, mostly in Nigeria and other northern African nations. Daesh, also known as "ISIS" or "ISIL," is ranked second.

In Letter, B.P. Brewer and 28 Manhattan Electeds Voice Major Concerns With De Blasio Administration Zoning Plans

For Immediate Release: November 19, 2105

Last night, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and a group of 28 elected officials representing Manhattan sent a letter to City Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod, outlining major concerns with the de Blasio administration's Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing zoning plans.

"If approved, these text amendments have the ability to drastically reshape housing, particularly affordable housing, is constructed in New York City," the elected officials write in the letter. "While these text amendments mark an impressive amount of address Mayor de Blasio's goal of creating or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing in NYC, we need to ensure that they also make sense for our communities."

View the letter to Chair Weisbrod. In the letter, the group of elected officials points to a number of major issues in the current proposals. For a breakdown of their concerns, Read more...

Hundreds Attend Hearing on Mayor's Zoning Proposals

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2015

At a public hearing her office held Monday evening, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer heard testimony from 55 speakers on two proposed amendments to the city's zoning code advanced by the de Blasio administration: a new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program and a slate of changes known as Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA). An audience of more than 250 people filled all available seats as the hearing began in the basement gymnasium of the Clinton School, on East 15th Street near Union Square.

In her opening remarks, Brewer stated her support for the proposals' goal of spurring quality affordable housing development across the five boroughs, but raised concerns with specific provisions of both proposals.

With respect to the ZQA proposal, Brewer flagged the prospect of significant height increases of 25 or even 50 feet being made possible when ZQA's changes are combined with certain existing opt-in affordable housing programs, such as the city's voluntary inclusionary housing program. This program has long been criticized as wasteful and flawed, and Brewer has repeatedly urged Mayor de Blasio's administration to reform the program as part of its affordable housing plan.

"I think the voluntary inclusionary housing program should be fixed so that we know it is providing us with the maximum and best opportunities for affordable housing in return for this added height," said Brewer. "That means prohibiting 'poor doors,' requiring more affordable housing in our hottest neighborhoods, and preventing double dipping with the 421-a program."

With respect to the MIH proposal, Brewer voiced strong support for the concept, saying, "if it were up to me, all new significant residential developments would require some affordable housing." Brewer raised specific concerns about how the program's requirements would be triggered, the need for strong anti-harassment protections for rent-stabilized tenants, and how the city will spend dedicated affordable housing funds raised under the plan.

As part of the city's land-use review process, Borough President Brewer will issue a formal recommendation on the ZQA and MIH zoning amendments at a later date. Read more...

Statement on First Landmarks Preservation Commission Backlog Hearing

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2015

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer issued the following statement in advance of her appearance at today's first Landmarks Preservation Commission public hearing on backlogged items for landmarking consideration in Manhattan:

“I'll be pleased to offer my testimony this morning in support of a number of properties I believe should be landmarked, but what really thrills me about today's hearing is the achievement it represents. Working together, we devised a transparent and orderly process for clearing the Landmarks Preservation Commission's backlog without any need to weaken the landmarks law or throw out the backlogged items without a hearing.

"As one of our country's oldest and most diverse cities, New York has a wealth of historic, cultural, and artistic treasures in its streetscape that are worth preserving for future generations. I look forward to working with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and my colleagues in the City Council to improve our Landmarks Law, which celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. But those improvements should be crafted in collaboration with the Commission itself and preservation advocates and carefully tailored, because as we can see today, the system is working."

Borough President Brewer offered testimony during the second segment of today's hearing at 1 Centre Street (9th Floor). Read her verbal testimony here.

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