Perhaps the most ambitious project of his mayoralty, Hizzoner Bill de Blasio’s 10-year, five-borough affordable housing plan is not without its critics.
Just ask some residents of Woodhaven.
“It’s a cheap way for the city to provide ‘affordable housing,’” said Sherman Kane at last Thursday’s meeting of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. “It costs the city nothing. We, as middle-class homeowners, would be providing the solution.”
In late July, the WRBA reached out to the mayor’s office via a letter expressing their concerns and requesting more information, and has even circulated a petition decrying the $41 billion project. The civic has not received a response.
“We just wanted to be more educated on what [de Blasio] is trying to do,” said WRBA President Martin Colberg last week.
Colberg noted that one of the main concerns is zoning, and how the plan will involve green-lighting basement and attic apartments. Published reports indicate that de Blasio is keen on converting previously illegal basement and cellar dwellings.
“We worked hard to keep the zoning the way it is, to keep the character the way it is,” he said. “Just shoving people into a basement or attic is not the answer.”
Colberg said the mayor’s sweeping response cannot come at the expense of a community’s character and the lives therein.
“We’re talking about safety—of the NYPD, of the FDNY, if they have to go into the [converted] house, the safety of neighbors,” Colberg posited. “Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, you’re going to be affected by this.”