Relaxing requirements to have parking lots at senior and affordable residences within reach of subways would free up space and money to build apartments, city officials testified Wednesday at a second day of hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan.
“Three unnecessary parking spaces are the equivalent of two units of affordable housing,” Housing Commissioner Vicki Been said. Officials said spots in parking structures can cost $50,000 to build, taking into account design, materials and labor.
But City Council members from the outer reaches of Queens and Brooklyn challenged how so-called transit zones — where parking requirements for developers would be waived — were drawn. They said public transportation options and other amenities must be improved before the parking is taken away.
“Senior citizens and other residents are not sardines,” Mark Treyger, a Democrat representing parts of southern Brooklyn that have seen bus line cuts, told Newsday. “They need to be mobile, they need to get to doctors’ appointments, they need to live out the golden years of their lives.”
From DNA Info:
The minimum size for a senior would be 275 square feet, which Queens Councilman Donovan Richards suggested is too small.
"I just know from my own grandmother, she couldn’t fit her hats in an apartment that size," he said.
Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield flagged the issue of allowing senior developments up to 65 feet tall in low-density residential districts that currently have a maximum building height of 35 feet.
The residents of those neighborhoods "want their small little homes with their little driveways," Greenfield said. "They're not looking necessarily for that influx."
City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod indicated he was open to negotiation, but Been balked.
"I completely understand the concern. I also just want to point out that seniors come from every neighborhood," both low rise and high rise, she said. "They want to stay in their neighborhoods but they don't want to be trapped in a building that doesn't have an elevator."
Greenfield suggested the administration require a special Board of Standards and Appeals permit for tall buildings in those low-slung neighborhoods so "there would be more review."
Been objected to adding in a community board review process.
"I feel very passionately about this, because I have to look seniors in the eye and say, 'I'm sorry, but we have a waiting list of seven years. That's probably longer than you'll be alive,'" she said.