Bushwick rezoning stalled after city dismisses community plan
The plan to rezone Bushwick hit a possibly fatal roadblock Monday after city officials and local politicians failed to reach an agreement on affordable housing requirements. The city said it will not study the Bushwick Community Plan (BCP), first envisioned by the community in 2014 to address out-of-context development, as part of its proposal, effectively postponing the rezoning. After years of Bushwick residents calling for a study of the area’s growing gentrification, the city released its official rezoning plan last April. But local stakeholders and leaders, including Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Rafel Espinal Jr., said the city’s plan fell short of the vision laid out in the BCP.
Courtesy of the Department of City Planning
As the Brooklyn Eagle reported, Reynoso and Espinal, along with members of Community Board 4, sent Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration a letter last week asking them to look at the BCP during the plan’s environmental review process. The mayor’s office and the city’s planning department rejected the request because the BCP limits the number of new units created.
“The Mayor’s decision to walk away from Bushwick, continuing the cycle of government neglect the neighborhood has suffered under for the past 50 years, is shameful as it ignores the voice and will of a community,” Reynoso and Espinal said in a joint statement.
“When we began the process of developing a community-based plan for Bushwick, we could have never imagined that Bushwick would receive a level of apathy from our local government reminiscent of the policies that left Bushwick to burn in the 1970s. We remain committed to our community’s vision as outlined in the BCP–nothing that affects Bushwick will be determined without Bushwick,” the pols added.
The city’s Bushwick rezoning proposal covers 300 city blocks bordered by Broadway to the south, Cypress Avenue to the north, Flushing Avenue to the west, and Trinity and Broadway Junction to the east. The goal is to create roughly 5,600 new apartments, with 30 percent of them affordable. The BCP called for a 2,000 unit cap on new apartments, with 100 percent of them affordable, meaning no market-rate units.
An unnamed source told Crain’s last week that the BCP was “too restrictive on the number and affordability levels” of the housing units. Since the Council defers to the local council members on these matters, the rezoning will likely be stalled for the foreseeable future.
The deadlock is the second blow in recent weeks to de Blasio’s effort to rezone parts of the city in order to construct more apartments. In December, a judge overturned land-use changes the City Council approved that would rezone Inwood. State Supreme Court Judge Verna Saunders said the city “failed to take a hard look at the relevant areas of concern identified by the public” and did not comply with a state environmental quality review. The city will appeal the decision.