Hundreds Turned Away at Rezoning Hearing; REBNY Supports City Plans
Hundreds were forced to stand out in the cold for hours and then turned away at a City Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday about two far-reaching rezoning plans by the City. GVSHP supports the call by our fellow preservationists and other New Yorkers for a second hearing that would allow all to participate in this important public process. The City Planning Commission chose a space which could only hold about 150 people (several times that number showed up) and with inadequate staffing for security screening. As a result, too many members of the public were shut out.
Fortunately, after a 9 hour wait, GVSHP did get to testify. GVSHP refuted the arguments for changing our existing zoning protections, using real-life examples to show how the city’s claims about current rules inhibiting affordable housing production, and their proposed rules helping, were false. We also called out their faulty analysis on which their claims were based, and their demand that affordable housing requirements must be dependent upon massive upzonings that would bring with them vastly increased amounts of market-rate housing production – thus undermining both affordability and neighborhood scale and character. Read the testimony here.
Not surprisingly, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) was there to support these citywide rezoning initiatives. Throughout the day, the Commission gave extra time to supporters of the proposals to speak, asking them to expound upon their comments and respond to or refute claims made by opponents, including GVSHP. Opponents like GVSHP were rarely if ever given similar opportunities; in fact, in spite of GVSHP providing the Commission with substantive data and analysis in response to their plans, they did not ask a single question of any of our six speakers.
The City Planning Commission, controlled by the Mayor, is expected to vote on these plans early in 2016, and send them to the City Council, which will have the final say. It’s more important than ever to let our city officials know that you oppose these changes that would strip away existing zoning protections and unnecessarily make extreme density and vastly-increased market-rate development the price to pay for a much smaller amount of affordable housing.
HOW TO HELP:
• Write City officials urging them to reject these proposed rezoning plans > >