Legal Aid Society sues city, claims East Harlem rezoning will price out residents

De Blasio administration said the suit was without merit

Mayor Bill de Blasio and East Harlem
Mayor Bill de Blasio and East Harlem

The Legal Aid Society is suing the city in an effort to overturn the recent rezoning of East Harlem.

The organization argues that the city’s environmental review was flawed and severely underestimates the number of locals who the rezoning will price out, according to Crain’s.

The City Council passed the rezoning late in 2017, which spans 96 blocks and is expected to bring 1,288 affordable housing units to private sites. It also includes a $222 million investment in the neighborhood.

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Legal Aid argues in its suit that, because the city only examines the impact construction will have on tenants who live in buildings that are not rent-regulated, its environmental impact statement is inaccurate, as tenants in rent-regulated apartments could also face new pressures to move out in the wake of the rezoning from landlords who want to raise rents.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer had argued in August that the rezoning would not do enough to curb displacement but said the version passed by the City Council was a significant improvement from the original proposal.

A de Blasio administration spokeswoman disparaged the suit to Crain’s, saying “It’s a sad day when groups try and grab headlines by trying to halt new schools, parks, anti-eviction services and thousands of affordable apartments for some of the lowest-income New Yorkers.” [Crain’s]Eddie Small

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