NYC seeks feedback on rezoning plan around new Bronx Metro-North stations
Rendering courtesy of DCP. A potential revamp of Morris Park Plaza.
City officials want New Yorkers to weigh in on a rezoning plan that proposes 6,000 new homes for the area surrounding four new Metro-North Stations in the East Bronx. The Department of City Planning (DCP) on Wednesday will host an online informational session for the Bronx Metro-North Station Area Plan, a rezoning effort proposed for Morris Park, Parkchester/Van Nest, Hunts Point, and Co-Op City. During the meeting, DCP officials will hear feedback and answer questions given by the community about the proposed land use changes ahead of the start of the official public review process.
Mayor Eric Adams’ rezoning plan will promote residential development around the new stations as part of his “City of Yes” housing plan. The Bronx Metro-North rezoning focuses on a 46-block stretch along the rail line on East Tremont Avenue, White Plains Road, Bronxdale Avenue, Eastchester Road, Stillwell Avenue, and around the two planned stations in Morris Park and Parkchester/Van Nest stations, according to CityLimits.
The rezoning plan aims to create 10,000 jobs and 6,000 new homes within the area, at least a quarter of which will be affordable income-restricted residences through the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. The rezoning would allow for residential development in areas previously only designated for commercial and manufacturing use.
As City Limits reports, three Council districts situated within the rezoning area, 13, 15, and 18, saw just a little more than 4,500 total new affordable housing units built or financed within their borders between 2014 and 2021, according to New York Housing Conference data.
Improved transit and a growing housing supply would allow for the area’s retail, restaurants, grocery stores, community facility space, and health care and life science establishments to grow exponentially, especially in and around Morris Park.
Additionally, the project will create workforce training programs, improve public open space and neighborhood connectivity, and bolster vital community institutions like Jacobi Medical Center, Montefiore Hospital, Calvary Hospital, and Hutchinson Metro Center.
The current state of the Bronx Metro-North Station Area Plan follows more than four years of community input. A Draft Scope of Work, which features zoning proposals and actions, can be found here.
During the session on Wednesday, attendees will have the chance to give feedback before the proposal gains certification to begin the uniform land use review procedure (ULURP) later this winter, according to Gothamist. After gaining certification, a seven-month-long process begins that involves the community boards, the borough president, and finally votes by the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
First announced in 2014 as part of the MTA’s Penn Station Access project, the four new Metro-North stations will better support the needs of the East Bronx and cut travel times from the Bronx to Manhattan by as much as 50 minutes.
The new stations will link Penn Station to Metro-North’s New Haven Line, which currently runs through the four neighborhoods but does not stop in the borough. Because of this, East Bronx residents are forced to rely on slower and less convenient modes of transportation like buses. The stations will also work to ease traffic congestion and lower carbon emissions by taking vehicles off the road.
According to the MTA, the new station will lower commute time into Manhattan from Co-Op City from 75 minutes to 25 minutes, and from Hunts Point from 45 minutes to just 16 minutes. The new stations will also open up new employment opportunities for Bronx residents in areas like Westchester and Connecticut, and vice versa, as 6sqft previously reported.
The stations are expected to open in 2027. You can RSVP for the online informational session here.
In 2019, former Bronx borough president Rubén Díaz Jr. and Westchester county executive George Latimer began hosting Community Council meetings about the project with representatives from civic organizations and local businesses from the East Bronx and Westchester. However, the project was forced to pause in 2020 due to the pandemic and uncertainty about the MTA’s budget.
Ground broke on the project in December 2022 but it has experienced months of delays due to complications between the MTA and Amtrak, according to the Bronx Times. The MTA claimed Amtrak was failing to provide the access and resources it had pledged to give the transit agency, specifically service outages needed for construction and “force account” staff, which are Amtrak workers that are supposed to help the MTA’s laborers.
Last July, MTA project executive Tom McGuinness announced that the projected completion date had been pushed back to late 2027 from March 2027. Amtrak agreed to let MTA workers work on the project during a 24/7 track outage that spanned from March to September of last year, but it wasn’t enough to gain back lost time.