CPC Approves New Affordable Housing Building in The Bronx

Nicole Clare of the Settlement Housing Fund testifies before the City Planning Commission. Image credit: CPC

Nicole Clare of the Settlement Housing Fund testifies before the City Planning Commission. Image credit: CPC

The building will be targeted to low-income and homeless individuals or families.  On April 1, 2015 the City Planning Commission voted to approve an application by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development facilitating construction of a new affordable housing building in The Bronx.  The building will be located at 1561 Walton Avenue in West Concourse, and feature sixty units of rental housing for low-income and homeless individuals and families.

On January 15, 2015 Bronx Community Board 4 voted 28-0 to recommend approval, with the condition that 50 percent of the project’s construction and operating jobs are filled by minorities, females, and Bronx community residents.  The Board also requested the project make a best effort to achieve 40 percent Local, Minority, and/or Woman-Owned Business Enterprise participation through all phases of development and construction.  On February 5, 2015 Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. issued a recommendation for approval.

On March 4, 2015 the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on the application.  Nicole Clare, Assistant Director for Housing and Fund Development at Settlement Housing Fund, testified on the history of her organization and their actions to rehabilitate seventeen buildings with over 1,000 units in the West Concourse area to date.  In addition to the rental units, Ms. Clare stated Settlement Housing Fund provides a range of community programs serving youth development and the subject building will provide three hundred square feet of community space for use with a college prep program located in an adjacent building.  Ms. Clare testified the building would remain affordable for fifty years through a combination of federal and state tax credits.  Kerry Zucker, an architect with Edelman Sultan Knox Wood, testified the building would be eleven stories with a brick façade to remain contextual with the neighborhood.  Ms. Zucker stated the building works with HPD’s green programs, and will have energy-efficient boilers, windows, and appliances, as well as LED lighting.  In response to questions from Commissioner Larisa Ortiz, Ms. Zucker testified the irregular appearance of the façade was designed to take advantage of the corner lot and provide south-facing windows for each apartment, optimizing the amount of natural light.

On April 1, 2015 the Commission voted to grant the application.  In its final report, the Commission noted the Community Board’s conditions, but pointed out the Commission could not act on them as employment opportunities were not under City Planning’s land use review jurisdiction.  The Commission also recognized the project sponsor, Settlement Housing Fund, and their experience in bringing along similar buildings in West Concourse.

CPC: 1561 Walton Avenue (150174-HAX, 150174-PQX) (Apr. 1, 2015).

By:  Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.