City slows pursuit of rezoning amid community, political backlash

Only one of 15 neighborhoods has been rezoned

Bill de Blasio, Marisa Lago and Inwood
Bill de Blasio, Marisa Lago and Inwood

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to rezone as many as 15 neighborhoods have hit a wall of political and local opposition.

Two years after pledging to create affordable housing through these expansive rezonings, the mayor has little to show for it: only one successful rezoning in East New York. Politico reported that as a result of fierce pushback, the administration has slowed its pursuit of other rezonings in Staten Island, the Bronx, Flushing and Inwood.

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Council member David Greenfield, the chair of the land use committee, told Politico that “rezonings have gotten increasingly more complicated and controversial in the last few years.”

“Some of it has to do with advocates who are demanding higher percentages of affordable housing,” Greenfield said. “Others are typical [not in my backyard] efforts, others are union driven who want to make sure their members are taken care of and certainly politics are part of the calculus as well. All of that has slowed down the pace of neighborhood rezonings.”

In August, the City Council rejected a proposal to rezone a development site in Inwood, after residents argued the planned project would displace locals. This and other rezonings tend to hinge on the approval of the neighborhood’s council representative (as the city council generally defers to the local representative). The city plans to rezone a larger area of Inwood, and Council member Ydanis Rodrgiuez has indicated that he will likely support the measure, though he’s requested changes to the proposal. [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel