Officials sound off on East New York rezoning

Proponents say the plan will help relieve the neighborhood's housing demand
January 07, 2016 05:55PM

Officials on Wednesday argued in favor of the city’s plan to rezone East New York, saying it will keep locals in the area and create much-needed affordable housing.

At a City Planning Commission hearing, Vicki Been, head of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said that increasing demand in the neighborhood is straining the housing supply, DNAinfo reported.

“We must create new affordable housing if we are going to relieve the heavy demand that is driving up East New York rents,” she said.

The city’s rezoning plan would require developers to set aside at least 25 percent of units in new projects as affordable housing. It would also bring more market-rate housing to the neighborhood. Critics have argued that the plan threatens to displace current residents. In December, City Comptroller Scott Stringer announced that rezoning East New York could displace 50,000 people. He claimed that the new affordable housing wouldn’t bring the anticipated reprieve to the neighborhood’s housing demand, but would be unaffordable for 55 percent of East New York’s current residents.

Ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, Borough President Eric Adams submitted a recommendation to the planning commission to reject the mayor’s plan in favor of one that would create more affordable housing units. He said that while he generally supports the plan’s intent, he feels long-time residents need to be protected against displacement. [DNAinfo] — Kathryn Brenzel