From video by Marc Bussanich

Marina Ortiz of East Harlem Preservation, an opponent of any rezoning, addresses the beep.

A borough president cannot approve or block a land-use application like the de Blasio administration’s bid to rezone a wide area of East Harlem to encourage residential development on several major avenues and control it on a few smaller streets.

Ever since the city scrapped the Board of Estimate—on which the five “beeps” had real sway over budget and land-use decisions—in 1990 following a Supreme Court ruling, each BP has had but an advisory vote on proposals moving through the city’s Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure, or ULURP.

But in the complex politics around the East Harlem bid, where some community factions support a limited rezoning while many don’t want to see any rezoning at all, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s position could be important, even if it is purely advisory.

Last Thursday, Brewer held a hearing to solicit input for her decision. The video is below.

Trying to skim? Here’s a few ideas:
1. Brewer gives broad remarks on her concerns.(1:53-4:21)
2. Marina Ortiz of East Harlem Preservation argues for a no-with-no-conditions vote, and compares the rezoning to past racist land actions (16:21-19:14)
3. Andres Perez of Picture the Homeless fears a rezoning will force more people to experience the shelter system like he did (35:48-37:58)
4. Board member Nilsa Orama, speaking for herself, echoes some of the board’s position and adds her own concerns (53:18-55:52)
5. Consultant George Janes talks about problems with the city’s estimations of environmental impacts (1:15:44-1:17:31)
6. Movement for Justice in El Barrio member, through a translator, calls for a no-with-no conditions vote (1:43:02 to the end)

Video by Marc Bussanich

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