The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Coalition of Community Groups to Fight 421a Tax Breaks

You know things are getting fierce when the activists start attacking specific parts of the tax code! In the case of 421-a, the outdated property tax breaks that give developers added incentives to build, most people would agree that it's time to consider whether it hinders rather than encourages the growth of affordable housing, or whether it's basically a give-away. If you believe it's a travesty, you'd do worse than to join the Crown Heights Tenants Union, Flatbush Tenants Coalition and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board at the hard-to-miss 626 Flatbush, an address that will undoubtedly outlive the current crisis, yet galvanizes the outrage felt by many about the cruel circus of change that's come to town and put down stakes. The pink elephant in the tent? We've been over that one many, many times here.


Anonymous said...

Q, this doesn't make sense. Let's think about it. 626 Flatbush includes 20% affordable housing. That's 51 affordable units. The reason Hudson is including those units is because they are receiving 421-a tax abatement. (Their site is within the "exclusion area", and so they must include 20% affordable housing to get the tax abatement.) And once the project is 20% affordable, they applied for and received NYS bond financing for the deal. That approach has produced thousands and thousands of affordable housing units in NYC. We can have a reasonable debate about whether 421-a should be changed, the exclusion area modified, etc. But simply ending 421-a will greatly reduce the amount of affordable housing produced. It's very clear.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Yep. Take it up with the organizers. I already pointed that out to them, and I think it's important not to distort the facts when making your case. There are plenty of reasons to be annoyed with 421-a, but not the affordable part, in my opinion. It's when they get it for no community benefit that I have a problem, and they have for years.

Unknown said...

421-a is simply an inefficient way to spend the 1.1 billion dollars of tax revenue that is diverted back into the pockets of developers. There have been reasonable debates regarding changes to the program, and those changes (enacted both in 2006 and again in 2008) have still failed to make this abatement program worth keeping. To be able to mitigate the effects of displacement (i.e. to keep current residents in the neighborhood) these units would have to be available to people making less than the current $19,371 cut-off. A senior citizen or disabled New Yorker on SSI makes a little over $10,000 a year. A fast food or retail employee making $9 bucks an hour brings in less than $19,000 a year. So while it's not fair to say that 421-a doesn't produce ANY "affordable" housing, it is more than fair to suggest that it's simply not good enough for the needs of our neighborhood. We could use that 1.1 Billion in lost tax revenue to help people stay in their current rent-stabilized apartments, or help the many homeless, already-displaced residents of the neighborhood with subsidies to find a place to live. With that kind of money, we could fully fund the Right to Counsel for every tenant in NYC housing court and still have about $800 million left over. 421-a will never be able to produce enough affordable units to balance out the effect (Q, I think you called it "secondary displacement" in an earlier post) that luxury development will have on this community. I think we can do better.