Send zoning changes back to community for review
by Henry Euler
May 04, 2016 | 7813 views | 0 0 comments | 162 162 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On March 22, the City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s two zoning proposals - the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) - aimed at increasing the amount of affordable and senior housing units in our city.

Almost everyone recognizes the need for housing units that are affordable to working New Yorkers and our senior citizens. However, these two proposals attack the rezonings that so many of us have worked so hard to achieve in order to maintain the character of our communities and to stem the tide of overdevelopment.

The mayor’s two proposals approach zoning with a one-size-fits-all mentality. But in reality, what would be acceptable in one part of our city may be totally unacceptable in another part of the city.

That’s why it took years to accomplish the contextual rezonings that civic and community groups worked on and lobbied for in all parts of the city. Each community was examined individually and rezoned based on the housing stock already in place.

With MIH and ZQA that did not happen. The measures were rushed through in one year’s time, and both measures received strong support from the real estate industry.

Some modifications were made to both the MIH and the ZQA after the City Planning Commission and City Council hearings, but the overall impact to our communities will be the same; more dense development and fewer parking requirements will be the norm.

Why weren’t the changes brought back to the residents for their consideration? Remember that 50 out of 59 community boards across the city rejected these proposals as they were originally written, as well as the majority of the borough presidents. All of these people represent us, the taxpayers.

We should be thankful to the City Council members who voted against these measures. The include Inez Barron, Barry Grodenchik, Joe Borelli, Paul Vallone, Steven Matteo, Andrew Cohen and Jumaane Williams. Councilwoman Rosie Mendez abstained.

Some were concerned about the zoning changes, some felt that the measures were not helping the lowest wage earners enough, and some were concerned about the reduced requirements for parking in many new construction projects.

With all of the pressures put on them by the mayor and the speaker to back these measures, these council members deserve credit for standing their ground and letting their objections known.

Henry Euler is a resident of Bayside.
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