Sunday, March 18, 2018

Communities across NYC see the writing on the wall

From YouTube/PIX11:

Lawmakers want the space for new classrooms. Some in the community are worried the hotel will be used to house homeless individuals.

Original story here.

Should pieds-à-terre be taxed more?

From Brick Underground:

The number of apartments being used as pieds-à-terre and short-term vacation rentals in New York City has spiked by over 20,000 in the last three years, and such apartments now make up 2.1 percent of all housing in New York City, according to census data recently released by the city.

The number of apartments listed on the most recent Housing and Vacancy Survey as vacant because of "seasonal, recreational, or occasional use" is now 74,945. This is the highest since the Regional Plan Association started keeping track in 1991 and, as the group's director of community planning Moses Gates notes, more than enough to house the city's entire homeless population. A Department of Housing Preservation and Development spokesman says that the agency can't parse from the data how many of these 75,000 apartments are being rented out on sites like Airbnb versus how many are being used as pieds-à-terre, and indeed there may be some overlap. Still, it's clear that the gain of 69,000 newly built apartments since 2014 is dampened by the simultaneous removal from of nearly a third of that number of apartments the sales and traditional rental markets.

Gates argues that the numbers show the urgent need for the city to create a pied-à-terre tax, so that wealthy people have incentives to sell their apartments or rent them to full-time tenants rather than keeping them empty or occasionally renting them to tourists.

"You're taking housing off the market during a housing emergency," he says. "That should be good enough" for the city to take action. Pied-à-terre owners, he adds, are "not paying city income taxes, but you're using city services to protect your tax investment."

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Queens Crap!

Tickets going fast! Oh wait, there are no tickets. Just a big Irish tweederfest. Who wouldn't want the Tom Manton Irish Person of the Year award?

CB4 votes against requested zoning change

From the Times Ledger:

Developers at a site in Elmhurst may not be getting the zoning change they need for a 13-story housing complex and Target location if Community Board 4 and anti-gentrification groups have the final say.

The advisory board at Tuesday’s meeting voted against the variance to allow Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group to build an additional three floors on the proposal site and asked that the city accept their recommendation to downzone the area to further prevent the development from happening.

More than 30 public speakers, including political hopefuls, filled the roster at the March 13 meeting and sitting space in Elmhurst Hospital’s auditorium was exhausted with activists from Queens Neighborhoods United filling the periphery with signs calling to protect their neighborhood from gentrification.

One resident during the public speaking portion of the meeting pointed out that nobody spoke in favor of the proposal while representatives from the developers were seen making snide remarks and gestures at the remarks being said.

The community board eventually voted nearly unanimously against the zoning change that would grant the extra building height with recommendation to lower the zoning to below the current height restriction.

City doesn't really care what Blissville (or anyone) thinks

Friday, March 16, 2018

Dulcken demolished

From George the Atheist.

Homeowner gets stuck with sidewalk repair bill

From NBC:

A New York City man was stuck with a charge for the sidewalk outside his home even though he was involved in a free repair program with the city. Lynda Baquero reports.

Bill's Blissville B.S.

From CBS 2:

Less than 500 people currently live in Blissville, yes, that’s what they really call it, a five-block area in the southeast corner of Long Island City. But they will soon be outnumbered by homeless people.

The Department of Homeless Services is turning the Fairfield Inn on Van Dam Avenue into a permanent homeless shelter for hundreds of adults. More than 100 men already live in a temporary shelter in the City View Hotel two blocks away, and even more homeless families are staying in another hotel less than a mile away.

“People’s cars have been broken into. There have been robberies. People hanging out, asking for money cigarettes and what not, odd behavior,” Perez said.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he and Blissville residents aren’t opposed to helping the homeless. The issue, he says, is about fairness.

“My district now houses four times the number of homeless individuals than we produce,” Van Bramer said. “And the mayor’s whole plan is about equity.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the homeless population in Blissville will decline as the temporary shelters close, but added, “We’ll keep looking at that community to make sure what’s done is fair.”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

LIC is not having it

From QNS:

Earlier this month, Long Island City residents rallied against a proposal to develop two city-owned lots along the waterfront. But developers are arguing that their plan was made with the community in mind.

Last July, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that TF Cornerstone was chosen to develop two sites that sit on 44th Drive. The plan includes 1,000 units of housing, an elementary school, manufacturing and commercial space, a performance space and waterfront access.

Almost immediately after the plan was announced, residents began to express their disappointment at Community Board 2 meetings, through a petition and a rally held on March 3.

Since the land is publicly owned, residents feel that they should have been consulted before the city finalized any plans. According to the LIC Coalition, the group that created the petition, residents want a portion of the land to be turned into a wetland park. Since the sites sit in a flood zone, they argue that constructing large buildings would make the land vulnerable.

Residents also want to see a community recreation center, “school seats, artist and light manufacturing space, a cultural center, a climate change educational center, job training, space for NGOs and other community benefits,” the petition said.

A great job by all...

From the Daily News:

The average nightly population in city homeless shelters last December was 63,495 — a record high, the annual State of the Homeless Report from the Coalition for the Homeless found.

“It’s a huge amount of people,” Giselle Routhier, policy director at Coalition for the Homeless, said. “There’s only nine cities in the entire state that have populations greater than our shelter system.”

It comes a year into Mayor de Blasio’s “Turning the Tide Plan,” which only aims to cut the shelter population by 2,500. The coalition has been calling on de Blasio to help the homeless through one of his other plans — to build affordable housing. They want him to set aside at least 10% of units for the homeless.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The MTA did this to themselves

From the Village Voice:

In the summer of 2014, New York City Transit intern Philip Betheil was finishing up his master’s in urban planning at Columbia University when his boss, David Greenberger, gave him a project. The two worked for NYCT’s operations planning division, and Greenberger tasked Betheil with looking into an arcane bit of subway minutiae called signal modifications and what effect they had on train service. They worked on the report on and off over that summer, tossing more than a dozen drafts back and forth.

In August of 2014, after Betheil’s internship had ended, the draft report languished in the organization’s digital innards. (Betheil declined to comment on the record for this article. Greenberger did not respond to a request for comment.)

But now, more than three years later, the report, which was obtained by the Village Voice along with other internal documents, provides a radically different explanation for the subway’s declining performance than the one that MTA leadership has given the public. The root cause of the subway system’s decay, it turns out, isn’t budget cuts or overcrowding — rather, the collapse of the subway system appears to have been primarily self-inflicted by the authority itself, in response to a single accident two decades ago that set the transit system on a path to disaster.

Moreover, these internal documents suggest that much of what the MTA is doing to fix the subways, including the authority’s $836 million Subway Action Plan, is not addressing the bulk of the delays that are plaguing the city’s transit system. And only now has the subway’s leadership, since the recent hiring of New York City Transit president Andy Byford, begun to seriously consider its own role.

“It’s not that complicated,” a source with direct knowledge of the situation who asked not to be identified told the Village Voice. “The trains are slower because they slowed the trains down.”

Because 1 de Blasio hasn't done enough damage

From Politicker:

New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray opened up about what has led her to consider higher office in 2021 and the challenges that come with her job during her first-ever gaggle with the media amid heightened scrutiny of her role in appointing top City Hall staffers.

On Monday night, McCray told NY1’s Courtney Gross that 2021 is among timeframes she is considering for a possible political office run. In November 2017, she told Cosmopolitan magazine she isn’t ruling out public office. And last month, she told Observer that running for office or leading a not-for-profit are both possibilities.

On Tuesday morning, after announcing that the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City—of which she is chairwoman—and the Hispanic Federation would provide $200,000 to support mental health services in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria and send a 12-person team to aid in recovery, McCray said she’s undecided on a position.