Bill Would Cut Props Under ‘McMansions’
Legislation to eliminate the "misuse" of a tax exemption that has been used by builders in Flushing to construct "garish, super structures" which hurt the overall appearance of the neighborhood, has been filed by Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin and state Senator Frank Padavan.
The structures in question have come to be known as "McMansions" because of their huge size and have led to protests by residents that the homes negatively impact the value of other homes on a block, McLaughlin said.
City Councilmember Tony Avella (D–Bayside) has attacked the oversized homes in the City Council, introducing a bill to change certain sections of the city Zoning Resolution.
McLaughlin has zeroed in on the 421-B tax exemption which, he said, was "ironically intended to give incentives for improvements to residential areas, but unwittingly served to subsidize, at taxpayers’ costs, these unwanted ‘improvements’ which many neighbors feel reduce the vitality and quality of their community."
McLaughlin (D– Flushing) said that he was asked by the city Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, as the Assembly’s Real Property Taxation Committee chairman, "to help find a way to rid our communities of these blights in ornate settings."
He and Padavan took action last week.
McLaughlin ex-plained: "We introduced legislation that would limit the 421-B tax exemption to apply only to property being built or improved under the federal government’s affordable housing guidelines, in which 50 percent or more of the households have incomes which are 60 percent under the federal poverty level.
"This would eliminate the misuse of the 421-B exemption by developers only interested in profits and by others who give little value to community spirit," McLaughlin said.
He said the current formula under the 421 B tax exemption includes two years of 100 percent exemption of added value both during and after construction, or four years of 100 percent exemption. This will now be used to encourage the building of affordable housing in areas of need.
McLaughlin added, "I have also worked with HUD (the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development) to agree to contribute $130 million in federal money toward rehabilitation costs in communities eligible for such government subsidies."
McLaughlin noted, "While it can be said that ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,’ the most troubling aspect of such ‘mansions’ to me is that some homeowners have found a way to enlarge and enhance their own property—sometimes with the intention of selling or renting and not for their own use—which others in their community find distasteful as well as costly to them as taxpayers and neighbors.
"I hope the passage of my bill will go a long way toward protecting and preserving the quality of life we desire and deserve."
The bill would appear to have a good chance of wining final passage, considering that McLaughlin, a Democrat, is the committee chairman moving the bill in the Assembly, where the Democrats are in the majority, and Padavan is a powerful figure in the Republican-controlled state senate.