Environmental Impact Statement, Department of City Planning

An outline of the city's East Harlem rezoning.

On Thursday, the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court that seeks to halt the East Harlem rezoning, which was approved on November 30 by the City Council. The lawsuit, like the one filed by Legal Aid against the Bedford Union Armory project in Crown Heights in November, argues that the city’s environmental analysis of the rezoning fails to accurately assess the risks of “indirect displacement”— displacement caused by changing market conditions and rising rents.

Specifically, it argues that the city’s manual for conducting environmental assessments was developed without legally required public input, that the manual ignores the risks of displacement faced by rent-stabilized tenants, and that the manual “ignores the undertows of gentrification and how this compounds with rezoning to exacerbate housing pressures and accelerate tenant displacement.”

A press release sent yesterday was accompanied by quotes of support from a member of Community Voices Heard, the president of East Harlem Preservation, and representatives from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Tenants and Neighbors, New York Communities for Change, and Picture the Homeless.

Legal Aid says its seeks to join the lawsuit with its litigation against the Bedford Union Armory, which will have its day in court this March.

A spokesperson for the De Blasio administration told Crain’s New York that “It’s a sad day when groups try and grab headlines by trying to halt new schools, parks, anti-eviction services and thousands of affordable apartments for some of the lowest-income New Yorkers…this plan invests in the very people who call East Harlem home today.”

Read the suit yourself:

Legal Aid Lawsuit to Halt East Harlem Rezoning (Text)