Despite NYC housing shortage, developers and politicians trim 2,600 units from rezoning plans

The Gothamist, David Brand, Dec 21, 2023

Despite New York City’s deepening housing shortage, more than 2,600 apartments were removed from development proposals during public negotiations since the start of 2022, according to a Gothamist review of Department of City Planning documents and project outcomes.

Records show that at least 17 residential rezoning plans submitted by developers and the city’s housing agency to the Department of City Planning were scrapped or reduced during a complex land use review process, which allows locals, municipal agencies and elected officials to weigh in on proposals. The plans faced a range of obstacles, from concerns over too few apartments for low-income New Yorkers to disdain from neighbors who didn’t want a tall building rising near their smaller homes.

The reduction in proposed units comes as New York City faces soaring rents, record-high levels of homelessness, and ongoing debates over where and how to best build new housing.

The roughly 2,600 proposed apartments pulled from the various projects wouldn’t solve the city’s growing housing crisis, which requires more than half a million new units to meet population growth, but housing experts and city officials say examining the total number of trimmed units could help developers, city agencies and communities reach agreements that chip away at New York’s growing affordability crisis without contentious battles that can tank each plan.

“Every proposal that would add more housing is both a local project and part of a broader solution to our problem,” said Howard Slatkin, the executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council and a former City Planning administrator. “Tracking this is a way to hold our process and leaders accountable to the broader housing need.”

The aggregate data, which has not been previously published, also shows just how hard it can be to build new housing in the five boroughs, said Kirk Goodrich, president of Monadnock Development.

Read More: The Gothamist