East New York’s Espinal Defends Rezoning Deal

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Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal, Jr., says calls for deeper affordability ran into financial realities.

BRIC-TV

Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal, Jr., says calls for deeper affordability ran into financial realities.

The City Council voted in April to approve the rezoning of East New York by a 45-1 margin. But one of the “yes” votes counted more than others: By Council custom, the member whose district most overlaps a rezoning area has great sway over whether his colleagues back or boot a plan.

For that reason, Rafael Espinal, Jr., was the target of intense pressure before the vote on a rezoning that substantially increased the height of buildings along major thoroughfares in East New York, affected commercial and industrial zoning, was set to generate 6,000 units of housing (as much as 50 percent of it income-targeted) and could absorb nine digits’ worth or city capital money. And that’s also why some people who were unhappy with the final deal, which didn’t get to the kind of deep levels of affordability that some had hoped to see, are unhappy with Espinal.

The Brooklyn Democrat joined me on BRIC-TV’s daily news program, BK Live, on Thursday. Take a look to learn whether he thinks the city’s promised investment is set in stone (it isn’t) and what advice he’d give the mayor as attention shifts to other rezoning areas (in a word: shhhhhhhhh.).

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City Limits’ coverage of housing policy is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

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