Mayoral Rivals Divided Over Requirements For Affordable Housing Developers
Two potential front runners in the 2013 mayoral race are already facing off, as William Thompson is taking on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn over a new reporting requirement for affordable housing developers. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
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Victor Beco has lived in a city-funded affordable housing project in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx for four years. During that time, he has seen a lot of leaks in his home.
"As soon as we moved into this housing we've been having these leaks," said Beco.
The leaks are due to the roof being pitched at the wrong angle. Beco has an inspection report to back him up, and now he also has City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on his side.
The council passed legislation in July to require affordable housing developers report wages and construction complaints to the city.
"I have shared just two examples of what can happen when [Housing Preservation and Development] is not held accountable for the contractors that they hire with taxpayer money," Quinn said on July 25.
By requiring developers report wages to the city, council officials say they can keep better tabs on affordable housing.
But that is not how Mayor Michael Bloomberg sees it and he has gained an unlikely ally in the debate — his opponent in the 2009 mayoral race, former City Comptroller William Thompson.
"It is a little ironic that the mayor and I are on the same page here, however, this legislation would just do damage," said Thompson.
Developers agree with Thompson, saying the requirements are burdensome and they would particularly hurt women and minority-owned businesses.
At a project in the West Farms section of the Bronx, developer Craig Livingston of Exact Capital said the extra paperwork under the legislation would have added to the cost significantly.
"We would have had to find more money to construct the building or we would have to create a lower quality product," said Livingston.
While it may seem like it is just about paperwork, developers said the regulations may be a precursor to a stricter requirement.
"The fact of the matter is there is a push by unions to get into the affordable housing business," said Livingston.
It seems the speaker is siding with labor on this one, but Thompson insists this is not about politics.
"This is about common sense and good business sense. It has nothing to do with the 2013 election," said Thompson.
Bloomberg has already vetoed the bill. The City Council is expected to override that veto next week.