It could be as long as a year before the de Blasio administration makes a proposal to rezone a two-mile stretch of Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. But advocates in that area, wary of the idea since it was first floated, made clear this week their demands for the jobs and housing provisions they want attached to any zoning shift.
The neighborhood running from just north of Yankee Stadium to just south of Fordham Road is one of the 15 areas the mayor has said will eventually be targeted for major rezonings to accommodate higher density housing and achieve his goal of creating 80,000 units of subsidized housing. East New York and Flushing West are among the other target neighborhoods that have been named so far.
Since the Department of City Planning began studying the Jerome Avenue corridor last fall, local groups like Community Action for Safe Apartments (CASA) have worried that the new development would displace existing residents and small businesses. The fate of the auto-repair shops and other blue-collar businesses along Jerome has been a special concern, and was the focus of a Bronx Documentary Center exhibition this month.
For its part, DCP has stressed that there is no set plan for Jerome Avenue, but rather a process built on an unusual level of community input. According to the department, this fall will see “a series of events to help refine the draft community plan and recommendations, including zoning recommendations” and the winter will involve “a series of events to reach consensus around the revised community plan and the final zoning proposal” before public review of the plan begins in the second half of next year. (DCP has created a Virtual Open House for public comments on the plan.)
If the administration is truly open to community input, the report released Wednesday by the Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision gives planners much to chew on.
The coalition, which includes groups like CASA and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, called for the city to “ensure that 100 percent of new construction reflects the needs of current neighborhood residents,” and while not specifying what that means, indicated residents wanted to see new apartments targeted to households making $27,000 a year or less and to people already living in the area.
The vision also includes calls for green roof requirements, local hiring for construction, intense background checks of developers getting subsidies, and a robust anti-harassment regime to protect tenants. Some of the policy changes sought by the coalition are citywide in nature. (Read the plan here.)
Below, City Limits’ Marc Bussanich interviews residents and advocates who make up part of the coalition about their fears and hopes.
City Limits’ reporting on housing policy is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation and our Bronx coverage is underwritten by the New York Community Trust.