Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

November 6, 2013

Reiss on Mayor De Blasio’s Plans for Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning

By David Reiss interviewed me about Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s plans for mandatory inclusionary zoning in NYC Real Estate Faces Less Friendly Market Under De Blasio (behind a paywall). It reads in part:

One of the biggest and most controversial pieces of de Blasio’s affordable housing platform is a plan to mandate inclusionary zoning — requiring developers to build affordable housing as part of their market-rate multifamily projects — when developments are being constructed in areas rezoned by the city.

Mandatory inclusionary zoning is meant to be a “hard-and-fast rule” to replace the incentives de Blasio plans to end for big developers, and he predicted on his campaign website that the strategy would create up to 50,000 new affordable housing units during the next 10 years.

But “mandatory” anything is considered an added cost when developers are weighing their options in deciding where to build, and requiring that residential developments include affordable housing could push some developers elsewhere, experts say.

“The devil is in the details,” said Brooklyn Law School professor David Reiss, noting that the way the de Blasio administration writes and implements the rule will make a big difference, either encouraging more development of affordable housing or shutting down the market to new developers.

And while de Blasio has emphasized that inclusionary zoning would only be mandatory for projects taking place in areas specifically rezoned for new development, Learner points out that the Bloomberg administration rezoned more than 30 percent of the city, so the new rule could likely affect many developers.

“When the program is designed, a lot of thought needs to go into what impact mandatory inclusionary zoning will have on the bottom line of developers,” Reiss said. “If it’s too significant of an impact, a less than optimal amount of housing will be built.”

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