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Housing Should Be Built on Land Owned by Churches, Nonprofits, Adams Says

New York City Mayor Eric Adams wants the city to embrace his 'Yes, in God's backyard' housing plan.
Most Holy Trinity-St. Mary Chruch in Williamsburg.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today said he would like to lift old zoning laws so that faith-based organizations and other mission-based nonprofits can build housing in their own lots. 

As a key proposal to the administration's "City of Yes for Housing Opportunity" plan, a set of zoning changes will allow campuses with large lots, including convents and school buildings, to be converted into housing anywhere in New York City where residential use is allowed, the mayor said.

It will also grant community facilities, like faith-based organizations, the ability to develop more housing by providing additional development rights and flexibility.

The plan also calls for the expansion of the Landmarks Transferable Development Rights program, which enables landmarked buildings to transfer unused development rights to nearby sites, to make it easier for landmarked religious institutions to raise urgently needed funds.

As the city faces a generational housing crisis with a 1.4% rental vacany rate, the proposal will enter public review this spring and will be voted by the Cty Council by the end of the year. 

"Our administration is throwing open the door to new solutions and new housing that will help us solve the housing criris by working with our churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based organizations," said Adams. "Today, we are saying 'yes in God's backyard,' and enabling faith-based organizations and non-profits to covert old convents, school buildings, and other properties into desperately-needed housing." 

This is a fight for the soul of our city, the mayor said.