Yesterday, City Council's land-use committee voted to approve the controversial Astoria Cove development project—thanks to an agreement reached by City Council and developer Alma Realty, 27 percent of the development's 1,700 units will be affordable. The full Council is expected to approve the development today.

The project has long been considered Mayor de Blasio's "first test" on affordable housing, and it's the first development that has been subject to mandatory inclusionary zoning, which requires developers to include affordable units in new housing projects that necessitate a zoning change.

The project's been fraught with controversy, as some critics argue that developer Alma Realty was not discounting enough of its units—initially, they planned to set aside 20 percent of its 1,723 units for families of four earning less than earning less than $67,000 per year. Some advocates argued that 50 percent of the units should be made affordable. Others, like City Council Member Costa Costantinides, who represents Queens's 22nd District, voiced concern that even the affordable apartments were too expensive for the area.

Per yesterday's agreement, though, the developer will make 25 percent of its units affordable; the city, meanwhile, will use money from capital budgets to bump the percentage up to 27 percent. "This agreement struck by the City Council and the developers at Astoria Cove committing to 27% affordability within the development not only benefits tenants but also demonstrates the Council’s commitment to keeping New York City a home of the middle class," Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who previously vowed to oppose the project unless Alma added more affordable units, said in a statement yesterday. "This City Council will not sit by and allow New York to become unaffordable for New Yorkers but will fight to ensure that the five boroughs remain a place where people can live, build families and put down roots."

Councilman Constantinides also commended City Council for reaching the agreement with Alma, noting that it " truly integrates this development into our community." And the City Council vote is a big win for the Mayor's office: "This is the most significant mandatory affordable housing requirement anywhere in the nation, and it represents a real game-changer from anything previously attempted in New York City," mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell told us in a statement.

"No shovels can go into the ground at Astoria Cove without affordable housing being built, and all told more than 400 new permanently affordable apartments will rise there. We are deeply appreciative of Councilman Constantinides' advocacy for strengthening the project, and helping reach an outcome that meets the needs of Astoria."

Critics are still concerned that the Astoria Cove project will not provide enough affordable units, and that the units the developers intend to discount will not be priced low enough. "De Blasio administration officials are responsible for allowing a bad deal on affordability to happen,” Jaron Benjamin, the executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Housing and a leader of housing advocate group Real Affordability for All, told the Wall Street Journal.

Though the Council's land-use committee approved the project with a vote of 17 to 0, Council Member Inez Barron abstained from the vote, arguing that the affordable housing units were priced too high for the area, "We have to say ‘affordable to whom?'” she said yesterday. “We’re not looking at approximately 70 percent of the people who don’t meet those levels.”

Astoria Cove's affordable units—the higher end of which could run $2,700 for a one-bedroom, and $3,800 for a three bedroom—are expected to be targeted to families of four earning between $51,000 to $110,000 per year . The average income in the area is about $56,000 per year.