12 thoughts on “As Public Review Kicks Off, Critics Lambast Inwood Rezoning Proposal

  1. DeBlasio et al.’s rezonings have been forced upon each community. All the movements against them are due to the knowledge that they displace current community members and businesses. New Yorkers are highly resourceful and intelligent. We understand the consequences of these actions by the city and who benefits. Inwood will fight fiercely to protect our precious community!

  2. Thank you, Abigail Savitch-Lew, for another well written and fair article about the highly problematic Inwood rezoning and unnecessary destruction of the award winning Inwood Public Library.

  3. In a sentence, the Inwood rezoning is well-intentioned but unnecessarily aggressive and does not provide enough real benefits.

    Here is a detailed critique that was made at the time of the Draft EIS Scope from another neighborhood group, Inwood Owners Coalition.

    https://app.box.com/s/42867d68vgqtidq06j5j

    Is it possible to rezone much of eastern Inwood? Sure. But not with 30 story buildings, and not without parks and infrastructure improvements. The rezoning is so aggressive that if maxed out it would nearly double the population of the entire area by adding 12,000 new apartments. Now it won’t happen quite that way, but it won’t be just 4,300 new apartments either. It’s a massive change, for an area with no police precinct, ancient infrastructure, no parks on the east side, no community center, etc. It leaves out protections for Baker Field and southern Inwood while blighting part of the area as unusable until such time as the hospital gets around to feeling like expanding (this is clearly a plan led by EDC, not planners).

    The city owes residents a better plan but instead has conducted a two-year propaganda clinic while ignoring nearly all constructive input as they seek to fulfill their marching orders from City Hall. And don’t even get started about the actual rail yard, which the councilman goes around showing slides of redevelopment on top of, but somehow leaves completely out of the EIS…

  4. Something needs to be moved forward. There will be much compromise. But Inwood cannot be unchanged as we see East New York, Long Island City, Midtown East, and now parts of the Bronx successfully re-zoned. Inwood is part of Manhattan, and it is just 40 minutes to Times Square by subway (in a city where the average commute is 60 minutes). The Manhattan status and decent transit cannot be ignored another decade.

    • I don’t think anyone in Inwood is saying “no change”. Even though we are 11 miles from downtown and practically have to take a highway to get there (the street grid only connects via Broadway), we get hit with that “Manhattan” label. And yes, we do have good transit. So sure, rezone the former industrial areas and add thousands of new housing units, but let’s do it as a planner would do it and not how a politician would.

      Your prediction aside, the city over the last two years has shown no interest in compromise. Look at the DEIS, Chapter 22, where they consider a slightly lower-density alternative plan that came out of the public feedback. It would result in about 7,400 new apartments if fully developed (note – the city uses numbers only 1/3 as large as this in their calcs due to their strict, and flawed, site selection criteria). Although the alternative plan is considered better than the current city plan in many ways, it is dismissed because it does not produce “enough” housing, which supposedly is a program objective that outranks good planning. How is 7,400 new apartments not enough? Why so aggressive in Inwood, which is already more dense than parts of the West Village or Upper West Side, while the rest of Manhattan gets historic districts and no upzonings? And where is the carrot for the existing residents, who have no interest in new housing but sorely need neighborhood assets that other parts of the city have, especially after the population is increased by FIFTY PERCENT?

      A more reasonable plan would see widespread support. The city has chosen to go a different route.

  5. Insightful and timely article. However, there is no such street as “East 207th St.” (There is no East Side in Inwood – in case it wasn’t an oversight.) As for the content, change /growth is inevitable. As long as we focus on the re-zoning being efficient, inclusive and logical. Opposing re-zoning because one’s against needed change – not rational. Let’s watch this process closely.

  6. Inwood’s rents have risen faster than any other neighborhood in NYC. 200 units new units over the last 20 years is too little to counter act increasing rents. We need to up zone commercial and industrial districts to add more housing.

    20% of these new units will be permanently affordable. The affordable units rents would be: 1 bedrooms $1100 and 2 bedrooms for $1300. Aside from increasing the housing supply, the up zoning will create many temporary construction jobs, and many more permanent jobs associated with operating the buildings and businesses that open offices in the commercial spaces. There only multi unit office building North of Dyckman, Inwood residents should be able to find office jobs in Inwood.

    In terms of gentrification, over 85% of existing housing in Inwood is rent controlled. Displacement is not an issue here.

    • Note that the “85% rent controlled” is somewhat misleading, since many are on pref rent. It is also impossible to build out of a situation of increasing rents, since rents are dictated by factors far outside the control of whether 200 or 2000 new apartments are built in Inwood.

      But regardless, I don’t think residents are against upzoning the unused industrial areas to create more housing, offices, etc. The question is how much upzoning and what benefits will be created for the existing residents. The current plan is too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

      • “Rent control” itself is a misleading phrase. “Control” is only applicable to apartments whose residents have been renting them continuously since before July 1, 1971–and there are fewer and fewer of those.

        I strongly doubt that 85 percent of existing apartments in Inwood are rent _controlled_.

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