“A rezoning is never perfect”
“Una rezonificación nunca es perfecta”

  • English
  • Español
  • Points of Agreement
  • Uptown United Platform

“A rezoning is never perfect”

Councilmember Rodríguez speaks before rezoning vote

Story and photos by Gregg McQueen

Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez at the National Night Out event.

Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez at the National Night Out event.

After making public remarks at the 34th Precinct’s “National Night Out Against Crime” event at Anne Loftus Playground on Tuesday night, City Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez spoke with Manhattan Times about the Inwood rezoning, which is up for full Council vote on Wednesday afternoon.

Standing not far from where a large protest occurred the previous evening — one that led to nine arrests — Rodríguez addressed the community opposition to the revamped plan.

He said the claims of potential displacement are “misleading” and touted tenant protections built into the proposal. He also stressed that no further changes would be made to the plan, as many opponents have asked.

 

First off, what is your comment regarding the protest and arrests that occurred last night?

Activists were arrested on Monday night. Photo: Cristóbal Vivar

Activists were arrested on Monday night.
Photo: Cristóbal Vivar

A rezoning is never perfect. A rezoning creates different opinions that people express in different ways. I hope that after we vote tomorrow, people will get to see that the centerpiece of this rezoning is about preservation. It’s not what people have been misleading others with, telling that this rezoning is to push people out.

This is a rezoning that will bring millions of dollars to provide lawyers to tenants that could be the victim of bad actors in the real estate community. This is a rezoning [in which] we provided the best plan that we’ve have ever had in any rezoning, getting a commitment on a number of public sites that over the next couple of years will be used to build 100 percent affordable [housing], similar to the one with the library, where the income requirement is going to be from $24,000 to $56,000.

This rezoning is about investing in our parks, the schools, and arts.

 

Still, you’ve had all these negotiations with the city to get more investments added to the plan. Even after the revisions to the plan, what do you think when you still see such intense opposition to it? What do you think it’s going to take for people to accept the plan?

 

Rodríguez marked the annual event with First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan.

Rodríguez marked the annual event with First
Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan.

I have no doubt that the majority of the community, they will benefit from this plan. Now we need to spend a lot of time explaining to the people, bringing clarity to some misleading [information] that members of this community were getting about people will lose their apartment. The reality is that we have the highest number of regulated apartments in the state of New York, and the only way we can protect those tenants is if we provide lawyers to those tenants when any landlord tries to take any tenants out.

This is what the rezoning has done. This rezoning includes not only the zip code 10034, but also we’ve added 10040 as a priority to provide more lawyers to tenants, with a commitment we’re going to be working to expedite the process so that the other zip codes 10463, 10032 and 10033 will also be getting priority for lawyers. The only way we can preserve our apartments is if we provide lawyers, and if the city creates a plan as we have it right now, where you have 2,500 apartments preserved over the next five years.

 

 

Is there a chance of any other revisions to the rezoning plan at this point? Or is the plan [to be voted on tomorrow] what it is?

The plan that we voted on last week is the plan we’re voting on tomorrow.

“A rezoning creates different opinions that people express in different ways,” said Rodríguez.

“A rezoning creates different opinions that people
express in different ways,” said Rodríguez.

What we agreed with the administration is that we already established a process where City Hall will have to come into all the agencies every year to be sure that the agreement that was included in the memorandum of understanding is being held [up].

 

The Commercial U has been pulled out of the rezoning plan. Would you have preferred that there was a zoning change there, to prevent a spot rezoning at a later date that could lead to really tall buildings going up in that area?

I personally thought that it was a good thing to include the whole rezoning as it was proposed. I believed that it was a good thing to put limits to the U – the Broadway, 207, and Dyckman. However, the opposition, including Congressman Espaillat, he said he had a problem with the rezoning mainly because the rezoning should happen only to the east of 10th Avenue. Well, I followed their voices, and they said that the U should not be included. Now, that U is subject to the market, but I followed this community. I pulled out the U because the community thought the rezoning was too large.

“Una rezonificación nunca es perfecta”

El concejal Rodríguez habla antes de la votación de rezonificación

Historia y fotos por Gregg McQueen

Los subcomités del Concejo votan en el Ayuntamiento.

Los subcomités del Concejo votan en el Ayuntamiento.

Después de hacer declaraciones públicas en el evento del precinto 34 “Velada Nacional Contra el Crimen” en el parque infantil Anne Loftus el martes por la noche, el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez habló con Manhattan Times sobre la rezonificación de Inwood, que estará a votación del Concejo el miércoles por la tarde.

De pie, no lejos de donde se produjo una gran protesta la noche anterior que dio lugar a nueve arrestos, Rodríguez se dirigió a la oposición de la comunidad al plan renovado.

Dijo que los reclamos de posibles desplazamientos son “engañosos” y promocionó las protecciones a los inquilinos integradas en la propuesta. También hizo hincapié en que no se realizarán más cambios al plan, como muchos opositores han pedido.

 

 

Primero, ¿cuál es su comentario con respecto a la protesta y los arrestos que tuvieron lugar anoche?

Una rezonificación nunca es perfecta. Una rezonificación crea diferentes opiniones que las personas expresan de diferentes maneras. Espero que después de que votemos mañana, la gente vea que el eje central de esta rezonificación es la preservación.

Rodríguez se reunió con propietarios de pequeños negocios después de la votación del 1 de agosto.

Rodríguez se reunió con propietarios de
pequeños negocios después de la votación del 1
de agosto.

No es con lo que la gente ha estado engañando a los demás, diciendo que esta rezonificación va a expulsar a la gente.

Esta es una rezonificación que traerá millones de dólares para proporcionar abogados a inquilinos que podrían ser víctimas de malos actores en la comunidad de bienes raíces. Esta es una rezonificación [en la que] proporcionamos el mejor plan que hemos tenido en cualquier rezonificación, consiguiendo un compromiso en una serie de sitios públicos que en los próximos años se utilizarán para construir [viviendas] 100 por ciento asequibles, similar al de la biblioteca, donde el requisito

de ingresos va a ser de $24,000 a $56,000 dólares.

Esta rezonificación se trata de invertir en nuestros parques, escuelas y artes.

 

Aun así, ha tenido todas estas negociaciones con la ciudad para obtener más inversiones agregadas al plan. Incluso después de las revisiones del plan, ¿qué piensa cuando aún se ve una oposición tan intensa? ¿Qué cree que necesitará la gente para aceptar el plan?

El concejal Ydanis Rodríguez en el evento Velada Nacional.

El concejal Ydanis Rodríguez en el evento
Velada Nacional.

No tengo dudas de que la mayoría de la comunidad se beneficiará de este plan. Ahora tenemos que dedicar mucho tiempo a explicar a la gente, a aclarar cierta información engañosa que los miembros de esta comunidad estuvieron recibiendo respecto a que la gente perdería su departamento. La realidad es que tenemos el mayor número de apartamentos regulados en el estado de Nueva York y la única forma en que podemos proteger a esos inquilinos es si les proporcionamos abogados cuando un propietario intente sacar a cualquier inquilino.

Esto es lo que ha hecho la rezonificación. Esta rezonificación incluye no solo el código postal 10034, también hemos agregado 10040 como prioridad para proporcionar más abogados a los inquilinos, con el compromiso de que vamos a trabajar para agilizar el proceso para que los demás códigos postales 10463, 10032 y 10033 también reciban prioridad para los abogados. La única forma en que podemos preservar nuestros apartamentos es si proporcionamos abogados, y si la ciudad crea un plan como el que tenemos ahora, donde tiene 2,500 apartamentos conservados en los próximos cinco años.

 

¿Hay alguna posibilidad de que haya otras revisiones al plan de rezonificación en este punto? ¿O es el plan [que se votará mañana] así como está?

Activistas fueron arrestados el lunes por la noche. Foto: Cristóbal Vivar

Activistas fueron arrestados el lunes por la noche.
Foto: Cristóbal Vivar

El plan que votamos la semana pasada es el plan que votaremos mañana.

Lo que acordamos con la administración es que ya establecimos un proceso en el que el Ayuntamiento tendrá que ingresar en todas las agencias todos los años para asegurarse de que el acuerdo que se incluyó en el memorando de entendimiento se mantenga.

 

La U Comercial ha sido retirada del plan de rezonificación. ¿Hubiera preferido que hubiese un cambio de zonificación ahí, para evitar un nuevo punto de zonificación en una fecha posterior que podría conducir a edificios realmente altos en esa área?

Personalmente, pensaba que era una buena idea incluir toda la rezonificación tal como se había propuesto. Creí que fue bueno poner límites a la U, Broadway, 207 y Dyckman. Sin embargo, la oposición, incluido el congresista Espaillat, dijo que tenía un problema con la rezonificación, principalmente porque la rezonificación debería ocurrir solo al este de la Décima avenida. Bueno, seguí sus voces, y dijeron que la U no debería incluirse. Ahora, esa U está sujeta al mercado, pero seguí a esta comunidad. Saqué la U porque la comunidad pensó que la rezonificación era demasiado grande.

Points of Agreement

August 2, 2018

Speaker Corey Johnson
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

New York City Council
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Dear Speaker Johnson and Council Member Rodriguez,

For nearly three years, we have worked with you and the Inwood community to plan for the future of the neighborhood. With the launch of the Inwood Action Plan, we laid out a vision to create and preserve affordable housing in Inwood and plan for vibrant neighborhood growth.

The attached includes investments for parks and open space, transportation, infrastructure, a new library building, a cultural center, workforce training and education. These represent a comprehensive approach to ensure that Inwood remains an affordable and livable neighborhood for working families.

Pursuant to legislation passed in 2016, every City-initiated neighborhood rezoning will be subject to a public commitment tracker. My office will work closely with the Mayor’s Office of Operations to input all commitments made into an online public tracker within 30 days after passage including timeline and funding, and will produce annual progress reports to let community members and other stakeholders know how we are making progress.

We commend the many efforts that have gone into the development of this Neighborhood Action Plan over the past few years. Because of collective efforts, Inwood will enjoy investments, initiatives, and programs for many years to come.

Sincerely,

Alicia Glen
Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development

Points of Agreement Report

Uptown United Platform

I. Introduction

OUR COMMUNITY

We live in Inwood and Washington Heights, a working- and middle-class, largely Dominican and Spanish-speaking, residential community in New York City, rich in indigenous Lenape history, where small businesses and a longstanding artistic community thrive. Surrounded by forest, caves, salt marshes, and parks, Northern Manhattan stands out among Manhattan and greater New York City neighborhoods for its natural and demographic diversity. Our community deserves the preservation of existing housing, equitable development of truly affordable new housing, protection for small businesses, continued and robust access to city services, and stewardship of our natural environment through thoughtful and innovative rezoning that respects and responds to local needs and advice.

 

CURRENT CHALLENGES

Our housing, the largest concentration of rent-regulated apartments in Manhattan, faces pressure from speculators purchasing investment properties and developers seeking to build taller, as-of-right market-rate buildings. Small businesses integral to our community are set to receive no protections from rent hikes, which will drive them out and make room for higher-paying chain stores. Overburdened schools, crowded public transit, and crumbling subsurface infrastructure cannot handle any population increase without immediate renovation and expansion.

 

WHO WE ARE

Uptown United is a shared platform to propose an alternative vision for our community. We are a collaboration of Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale (NMN4S), Inwood Preservation (IP), Inwood Small Business Coalition / Coalición de Pequeñas Empresas de Inwood (ISBC/CPEI), Save Inwood Library (SIL), and concerned residents. Our mission is to preserve and protect the character and cultural identity of the Inwood neighborhood in Upper Manhattan: the strong, family-oriented and majority-Latino community; the low-income, predominantly mid-rise housing; the small, locally-owned businesses that serve the needs of Inwood residents; the public assets and historic resources; and large public parks and waterfront. We maintain that any new development must help solve our current challenges rather than exacerbate them. We also hope the Uptown United platform sets a precedent for truly collaborative community-driven planning, not just in Inwood, but in all Northern Manhattan neighborhoods that face many of the same issues as Inwood.

 Full Document