The White Plains Common Council is considering ways to require developers to provide additional affordable housing.
At the Feb. 25 work session the Council received proposals to change city law from City Commissioner of Planning Christopher Gomez to increase the amount of affordable housing units.
Gomez said he was proposing “things that we’ve been talking about for a long time.”
One of the changes being proposed by Gomez is to give affordable housing regulations its own place in the City Code.
Gomez is proposing that all housing developments of 10 or more multi-family units be subject to affordable housing requirements, rather than the current policy of basing the requirements on the Zoning Districts where new housing would be developed.
Under Gomez’s plan, the percentage of affordable housing for developments with 10 or more multi-family units would be increased from the current 10 percent to 12 percent for households making 80 percent of the Area Median Income and from 6 percent to 8 percent for households earning 50 to 60 percent of the AMI. The percentage does not include density bonuses, which would require an even greater percentage of affordable housing,
AMI is used by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine eligibility for its housing programs.
A final proposal from Gomez would be to create an option for developers to provide fewer affordable units if they agreed to make a payment to the city’s affordable housing fund to create more affordable housing in other ways, such as providing down payment assistance to help residents purchase a home or to subsidize the cost of land for developers seeking to create affordable housing, There is currently no buy out provision in city law, Gomez said. “We have almost no money in that fund,” Gomez said.
“The goal is to have it funded by developers,” Mayor Tom Roach said of the proposals to increase affordable housing. Some of the affordable housing fund payments could be used to offset some of the city government’s costs of administering affordable housing programs, he said.
Affordable housing “makes for a better quality of life” by having people of various income levels living in the city, Roach said.