Residents rallied outside Councilmember Robert Jackson’s district office to call for equitable provisions in the rezoning of West Harlem.
Photo: Luis Tejada
These include targeted affordable housing, affordable retail and commercial spaces, anti-displacement measures, jobs and local business opportunities “consistent with the needs of the community—and enforceable by law.”
Also noted was the fact that Congressman Charles Rangel has signed a letter in support (available for reading online at www.manhattantimesnews.com), and that similar provisions, including approximately 50% affordable housing, were fought for and included in the rezonings of 125th Street with Councilmember Inez Dickens, and Seward Park with Councilmember Margaret Chin.
In response, Johanna García, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Jackson, said that Councilmember Jackson had met with the group two or three times to explain that the rezoning was “about preserving the neighborhood and not up-zoning.”
García, who observed that the city cannot legally make amendments placing restrictions and conditions on the development of any project on private property, added, “The rezoning puts restrictions on the bulk and height of buildings of new development. This is to preserve the character of the neighborhood and de-incentivize new developers from building structures with no height limits and out character with the neighborhood.”
“While well-intentioned, the Coalition's actions are misguided,” said García. “Councilmember Jackson hopes to work with them to meet the needs of their membership and look for ethical and legally sound avenues of securing affordable and quality housing.”
The rezoning plan will be voted on by the Land Use Committee on Thurs., Oct. 25th and the full New York City Council on Tues., Oct. 30th.
For more information on the West Harlem rezoning plans, the presentation by the City Planning Commission is available at: www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/west_harlem/presentation.shtml.