6 thoughts on “City Presents Comprehensive Rezoning Framework for Inwood

  1. From a lifelong Inwood resident.
    The Mayor’s office and EDC have never taken heed of any of the community’s concerns on this overwhelming project. They have no awareness of the essential human connectedness of this neighborhood.
    Why should they be trusted now?

  2. To expand on my public comment quoted in this article: An example of EDC cherry picking community input was a Community Stakeholder Working Group EDC convened last year for about 5 months. I was a member. They promised us a public report showing the range of preferences and concerns of the group. Members got a draft report to comment on. We submitted comments. Then the final report never came out. They buried it! EDC staff told me the stakeholder group’s work is reflected in the June 29, 2017 “Action Plan.” But there are plenty of concerns raised in our group that I don’t see in the plan. Without making the group report public, there’s no transparency in what EDC used and what they did not. And this was not a protest group, but a group EDC worked with for 5 months!

    More broadly, my main problems with the community process, which I’ve expressed to EDC. HPD. and our Council Member, are two-fold:
    (1) It’s been an “input only” process which creates the perception of the City cherry picking our input. A real collaborative community process would not eliminate all opposition, but would show respect to community members and produce a more community-friendly result.
    (2) The plan’s 3 major parts (special district zoning, contextual zoning area, library project) emerged at 3 separate times and EDC, HPD, & NYPL only took community input on each part separately. There are tradeoffs to be made across the 3 parts but the community has never had an opportunity to work with the entire plan on the table–all parts–at once and show what tradeoffs community members would want.

    EDC wants to move now to EIS & ULURP in which the public process is completely in the realm of written comments and public hearings where people get to speak for 1 minute–one to many, with no chance for give-and-take deliberation. So community collaboration will be impossible under EDC’s current plans, and distrust will only grow worse.

  3. Big questions remain:

    – Why did the city change the plan midway through the process last year to save so much area for the hospital when the hospital has expressed no desire to expand? It will remain blighted NYP employee parking lots for years to suit a fantasy political goal of EDC and the Councilmember. Hard to be taken seriously about the need to build more housing (see R9 comment below) when so much land will be left unusable for housing.

    – Why did Columbia remove itself from the expanded rezoning? What good is protecting R7A across the street if Columbia decides one day to build 30-story dorms? There is no planning excuse for leaving Baker Field out, only political excuses.

    – Why is southern Inwood (Dyckman to Hillside) excluded?

    – Note that the library has been tucked in as an R8A site far from a corner. That is not justified by planning means, only by political means to accommodate a separate project that was at risk of being an illegal spot rezoning. There is no planning justification for rezoning the library.

    – Given that any rezoning will create thousands and thousands of new apartments, under what planning rationale do R9 zonings appear here? That kind of superdensity is not found north of Central Park in quantity, and not north of Harlem at all.

    The outcome will never be perfect but it need not be so politically driven and bizarre either.

  4. I support the new plan. I think people need to relax about Columbia and the library and focus on what is being presented. R7A for most streets and a higher TBD zoning for the U-shaped commercial zone. Pretty much this means that if the demand is there, a developer can build an 8-story building. There will be no mini-skyscrapers like there are in Sunset Part, Brooklyn. And there won’t be a giant wave of new glass walled buildings like there is in Williamburg. This is preparing Inwood for a future that is probably decades away. I think the plan should be read, discussed, and approved. Let’s get it done.

  5. From 30,000 ft., Inwood NYC looks like a reasonable plan #Mister Sterling, but people’s lives happen at ground level. Given that there are a lot of low income families at risk of displacement (in the midst of our very wide income range), it’s reasonable for a lot of people to be fearful of EDC’s plan. One big problem with the plan, and ALL of the mayor’s Housing NY initiative, is that the City is only regularly reporting numbers of “affordable” units saved and preserved. They’re not reporting the number of affordable units lost (e.g., because they leave rent regulation) orthe number of families displaced or at risk of displacement (e.g., severe housing cost burden, preferential rent). Once in a while one-time data comes out on that sort of thing due to efforts of “civic hackers” who scrape public data bases, investigative reporters, or audits made public. But one-time data doesn’t help. We need time series data to see if these other indicators are moving in the right or wrong direction. Without such info, we won’t know if the City’s efforts are really catching up with affordable housing shortages or actually losing ground, or whether their efforts to solve the problem from 30,000 ft make it worse on the ground for a lot of residents.

    This kind of extra measurement can be costly, but as Housing NY represents tens of BILLIONS in investments, then it behooves the City to spend what it takes to get better information–on both the “upsides” and “downsides” of development. Then, if some key indicators get worse, we’d all know that the City needs to take corrective action. But you cannot take corrective action if you don’t have the needed data.

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