3 thoughts on “Inwood Sees City’s Plan Take Shape, Awaits Details on Zoning Proposal

  1. While Inwood definitely needs a plan to guide future growth and development, the “Action Plan” released yesterday is not that plan. While the plan presents some worthwhile actions especially regarding parks and tenant rights, it feels more like a steamroller in sheep’s clothing than a guide for a healthy future for Inwood. I attended most of the public meetings for the rezoning as well as for the library–and the plan as released does not accurately reflect the overall needs of the community that were expressed. We have all had to quickly become experts in zoning and city planning, and even a novice can see that the zoning that is most protective of what we already have–a walkable, lively, mixed-used small town at the northern tip of a huge metropolis–is R7A, not the sneaky upzoning proposed in the plan. R7A would allow for affordable housing to be built without tearing down the beautiful and affordable mid-rise buildings we now have and replacing them with soulless highrises that are only 30% affordable, if that. Inwood is already a gem, and hacking away at it via inappropriate rezoning will not increase its lustre–it will destroy it.

  2. One wonders what backroom deal Columbia and NYP cut with the city to exclude their lands from the contextual rezoning area…

  3. EDC defends its plan by pointing out that the deepest income category for affordable housing under mandatory inclusionary zoning has a ceiling lower than the median income for Inwood. But that is not the most relevant comparison. Many, but not all, Inwood residents are homeowners or have apartments they can afford. Those who don’t are of course concentrated in the lower half of the income distribution, with incomes below the median. In fact, about half of Inwood residents pay unaffordable rents (more than 30 percent of income), and more than half of those have incomes below “30 percent of Area Median Income” or about $25,000 a year — well out of range of the mandatory inclusionary benefits. The de Blasio administration deserves credit for increasing the number of apartments targeted to this range in its housing production plan, but the number is still far too low to mitigate the effect of promoting market development in neighborhoods like Inwood. There is a case to be made that the benefits of increasing the overall housing stock are worth the cost in terms of decreased affordability when neighborhoods are redeveloped, but if that’s true, then it’s worth having the city absorb those costs through deeply targeted affordability measures, instead of letting the burden fall on low-income people who are least able to absorb it. The city should commit to significantly increase affordability for the lowest incomes, and should commit to locating this deeply affordable housing in rezoned and other gentrifying neighborhoods. If all a low- or mixed-income neighborhood gets are the benefits required under mandatory inclusionary, that is always going to be a bad deal for the low-income part of the community.

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