The Jerome Avenue Rezoning: What to Expect in the Weeks Ahead

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An image of the Jerome Avenue rezoning proposal from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement with additional lines superimposed to indicate the portions of the corridor that fall into each community board. Red = CB4, Blue = CB5, and Purple = CB7

The Department of City Planning’s proposed rezoning of Jerome Avenue is the fourth of Mayor de Blasio’s neighborhood rezoning plans, and the first in the Bronx, to enter the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP)—the seven-month process through which a rezoning is approved or disproved.

The rezoning extends across a 92-block area and generally covers Jerome Avenue from 165th Street to 184th Street. It would spur residential development in an area that is currently mostly zoned for auto-related business uses, create some income-targeted housing under the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing policy, and, the city estimates, bring nearly 1,000 permanent new jobs to the area through the creation of new retail and community services.

The city has touted a variety of additional city investments and initiatives that accompany the plan relating to housing preservation, economic development, open space and more, but residents still have a variety of concerns ranging from access to jobs, impact on local infrastructure and the threat of rising rents.

What to read

See the Department of City Planning’s website for the plan here. You can also view the city’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement’s executive summary (or the whole thing), which is the city’s take on the rezoning’s projected impact.

For more community voices, check out our coverage, as well as community op-eds, related to the Jerome Avenue rezoning discussion here. The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision has its own policy platform and has issued detailed comments on the proposal, while Community Board 4 and 5 has its own goals and priorities.

This explainer (in English and Spanish) provides a detailed run-down of the ULURP process, which begins with a non-binding recommendation from the local community-boards, then a non-binding recommendation from the borough president, next a City Planning Commission vote, and finally a City Council vote. Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, whose district covers most of the rezoning, and secondly Councilmember Fernando Cabrera, will have the most sway over the council’s decision.

Key dates

The Jerome Avenue rezoning overlaps with Community Board 4 and 5, as well as a sliver of Community Board 7. They all have until October 30 to issue their individual recommendations. Community Board 4 and 5 are holding a joint public hearing on Wednesday October 4 from 5 pm to 10 pm at Concourse Village Community Center, 777 Concourse Village East.

The boards then have until October 30 to vote. Some key dates to watch out for (and we’ll add more as we hear of them) include Community Board 4’s joint meeting of the housing and land use committee, Parks and Recreation, and Health and Human Services Committee on October 10 at 6 pm, Murray Cohen Auditorium inside Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, 1650 Grand Concourse, 1st Floor. The matter will also be taken up by the full board on October 24 at 6 pm, at Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse.

Community Board 5 will also vote on the matter at its next full board meeting on October 25, which will begin with a public hearing on the FY 2019 capital budget at 5 pm, and will likely take place at the Davidson Community Center, 2038 Davidson Avenue.

Community Board 7, which says it will let boards 4 and 5 take the lead, will also discuss the matter at a full board meeting on Tuesday October 17 at 6:30 pm, North Central Bronx Hospital, 3424 Kossuth Avenue, 17th floor.

There were then be later hearings held by the borough president, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council, with opportunities to submit written comment as well.

What to expect

It’s not clear how the community board members will vote. Last year the community boards expressed general support for the concept of the rezoning but a desire for some new initiatives and changes, including protections for existing low-income tenants, investments in job- programs, moderate and middle-income housing, and the removal of auto-preservation zones.

At two recent meetings of Community Board 4, City Limits heard board members ask questions related to preventing displacement, ensuring access to affordable housing, and the potential impacts of development on things like traffic, schools and parks.

But it is clear that a range of opinions is likely to find voice at these upcoming meetings. At a Community Board 5 meeting on Wednesday, a board member expressed concerns about homeowners’ opinions being taken into account, and the chair said that the demand of CASA New Settlements (one of the main groups in the Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision) for “100 percent” low-income housing would have a negative impact.

The coalition wants to see all the housing use a subsidy termsheet that would require the housing be split evenly among four income brackets ranging from about 30 percent AMI ($25,770 for a family of three) on the lower end to about 60 percent AMI ($51,540 for a family of three) on the upper end.

One new community board 5 member said that she grew up “dirt poor” and was uncomfortable with the sentiment of “we don’t want these low-income” folks that she felt she was hearing from some others. She said it was important the area remained affordable to all, though she also welcomed higher-income folks as well.

One thought on “The Jerome Avenue Rezoning: What to Expect in the Weeks Ahead

  1. This is a farce. They are rushing to build more subsidized housing at the expense of existing businesses. Why do we need more Subsidized housing, and of all places, who thinks we need more in the Bronx? This article talks about creating 1,000 jobs, what about the 1,000’s that will be displaced. The people that get these subsidized apartments will never get jobs because they are knocking down all the building, and forcing out businesses that provide the types of jobs that would, and d,o employ these people. Can we stop being so politically correct as to pretend that these future tenants are going to work on wall street or in mid-town. These people work in garages, warehouses, fabricators- all business being closed to build R-7 apartments.
    Years ago they determined that building giant “projects” was a bad idea because they incited crime and further poverty, so the practice stopped for 3 decades. De Blasio is now turning the entire Bronx into a mega-Project. Nobody really believes that the we are going to fill new office buildings full of upwardly mobile young professionals on Jerome Ave., do they? I hope not. There are not, and never will be a meaningful number of office jobs in the Bronx! Try to rent 2nd floor office space in the Bronx right now. Unless you are next door to a court house, you can’t give it away.
    Don’t forget, the economy is about as strong as it is likely to get. Things are pretty good. What happens when things go south? Who is going to pay for the “entitlements” that these 10,000’s of new subsidized residents are going to be collecting. When the economy slows, taxes decrease. Where will the money come from. Can’t keep stealing it from the rich. They already pay more than their share. Yes, I said it! More then there share! A “rich” NYC landlord pays 60-75% of its Profits to the government! The first 25% of gross income in real estate goes to PROPERTY TAXES! Then add to that the 35% Fed. income tax and another 10% in State income tax and finally, god help you if you live IN NYC and pay even more local tax!
    Speaking of the rich, who do you really think benefits from this rezoning? Existing Landlords will be selling their $1,000,000 garages for $2,000,000+ to developers. Developers will build $4,000,000 apartment buildings and sell them to the City for $6,000,000.
    Finally, more dumb thinking. Why pick Jerome Ave to re-develop? Because the train is there to move people to Manhattan. As stated above, most of these new residents are NOT going to commute to white collar jobs in Manhattan. The El makes Jerome Ave a dark, dingy, dangerous road to live or walk on as it is now. Once they place 6 story buildings on either side for 40 blocks and quadruple the population density – it will be a death trap, and absolutely dark and disgusting. Just a miserable place to live. How about parking? It stinks their now. What about when NO parking garages are permitted in the new residential zones and there are 1,000’s of more cars owned by the 1,000’s on new residents. Again, do we really think these new “up scale” residents the City tells us are moving in will not have cars, simply because the train is there? I don’t think so!
    This is a mistake on so many levels, it boggles the mind. In 10 years, when the economy has slowed and NYC is circling the drain toward bankruptcy, idiots like De blasio will simply say “OOps, who could have seen this coming”.

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