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.
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.