New Tax Aims to Bring Housing to Empty Lots in Brooklyn


    Mayor elect Bill de Blasio hopes to spur development on vacant lots in the outer boroughs with a new tax on them, Crain’s reported. After a five-year phase-in period, taxes would rise every year on empty land by about $15,300 a year. De Blasio estimates the new tax will raise about $162 million every year — and the money will go toward building affordable housing.

    The story speculated that the tax could actually inhibit development by making it difficult for developers to assemble large lots on which to build. The story also quoted a developer who said empty lots in low income neighborhoods attract crime, vermin and garbage and lower surrounding property values. Above, a lot on Broadway between Decatur and Rockaway in Bed Stuy that once contained commercial buildings and has probably been empty since fires devastated this area in the 1970s.

    A similar policy is already in effect in Manhattan, where empty lots are taxed at higher commercial rates rather than at one-family rates.

    Do you think the tax is a good idea in Brooklyn or would it be better to do something about empty and deteriorating buildings and leave the green spaces alone?

    De Blasio Tells Lot Owners to Put up or Pay Up [Crain’s]
    Photo by Google Maps

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