The Real Deal New York

Here’s how de Blasio stacks up against Bloomberg on rezoning

The current mayor may be constrained by fewer areas to downzone
By Ben St. Clair | March 03, 2017 06:00PM

Throughout his mayoral campaign and his administration, Bill de Blasio has positioned himself as a champion of rezonings, calling them “an economic and environmental imperative.” But a new analysis shows that when compared to his predecessor, de Blasio is a clear laggard on the matter.

By this point in his administration, Mayor Michael Bloomberg had rezoned far more of the city than de Blasio has, a new map put together by Quantierra shows.

Bloomberg’s rezoning through March 2 of his fourth year, marked in red on the map below, includes large swaths of Staten Island, as well as neighborhoods in the East Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Rezoned areas under de Blasio include areas such as East New York, as well as small tracts of land throughout the city.

The map’s creator, Quantierra‘s Stephen Smith, says that much of the rezoning under the Bloomberg Administration came from areas that were downzoned, or made to be less dense, rather than upzoned, which increases density.

“Bloomberg was willing to trade downzonings for upzonings,” Smith said. “De Blasio has either not been willing to do that or not been able to do that.”

In some areas of the city, there’s not a lot of downzonings to trade, Smith says, giving de Blasio less tools to deal with the backlash that comes with upzoning proposals.

Plans to rezone over 70 blocks on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, for instance, have been met with criticism from the local community, where some worry the proposal could cause displacement and fails to include enough affordable housing. The proposal would add both residential and commercial space.

Over his three terms, Bloomberg rezoned about 37 percent of the city, according to the New York Times.