18 thoughts on “Ahead of Rezoning Hearing, Inwood Groups Release Merged Platform

  1. EDC’s claims of community engagement shaping their plan are bogus, as the map we referred to with all the basic subdistricts of the ultimate plan proves. Their excuse is nonsense. They knew what they wanted, and they released it piece by piece and said each new piece was in response to the community or elected officials. The Jan 2016 map proves those were lies. Curiously, in the last release, a full 17 months after that map was made, they combined one popular change (adding a contextual zoning area, though it left out a vulnerable southern part of Inwood) with a very unpopular one (upzoning 3 major commercial corridors in a “Commercial U”) which no one in the community, NO ONE, asked for. The response in the packed community meeting where that plan was released was literally 100% against the Commercial U upzoning, as reported in CITY LIMITS. EDC never asked community groups why they opposed it, or tried to find a compromise. With no further engagement, they released the plan with all the same parts one month later and said that’s what’s going to EIS and ULURP. Yes, EDC has presented at many community board meetings and other sessions over two years, and counted up a lot of residents who attended. And through it all they totally disrespected the community and did just what they wanted.

  2. So armchair urban planners are arguing that Inwood deserves a customized re-zoning approach. Because they are special. I support the current proposal with its commercial “U.” I hope the city stands firm and shoves the current proposal through,.

    • Hey Mr. Sterling, why do you assume there weren’t knowledgeable professional planners, architects, lawyers, environmental scientists, housing professionals, educators, public health professionals and more on the team, who have the added advantage of living in the area and knowing its needs far far better than a bureaucratic downtowners who are under political pressure? Just curious.

    • Yes, they are ramming it through, exactly what we’re complaining about while they bleat on and on about “community input.” You sound like you work there.

      • This is how the deBlasio administration is running the entire re-zoning process. Your community’s input means nothing to him. But where is your city council delegation in this fight? Don’t let the city force their plans on your neighborhood.

    • Community people engaged for many months–some over two years–can hardly be called “armchair urban planners.” The experts among us (including a PhD AICP planner, 2 PhD environmental scientists, two engineers–one with development experience–and others) have spent countless hours doing research and writing comments making reasonable requests for added studies or different criteria in the environmental review process, only to be blown off by the City. We don’t want it to be our word against the City’s about issues such as displacement, so we requested studies or analyses which is our right to request in the EIS process. The City simply said NO, they don’t have to do it, just like they’ve blown off all community comments in the rezoning process itself that they don’t like. Yet there’s been at least one press release with the mayor calling Inwood NYC a “community-driven plan” when it is nothing of the sort.

      The real “armchair planners” are EDC’s planners who ignore research on the results of upzoning in lower income neighborhoods and who impose plans from 30,000 feet and ignore people’s lives and businesses on the ground. Of the many bad features of the City’s plan, the upzoned “Commercial U” is arguably the worst, putting most of our largely locally-owned, immigrant-owned, small businesses at risk of displacement as well as about 1,500 apartments. These shops are the heart of our local economy, keeping Inwood’s shopping money circulating in Inwood rather than going to chain stores’ Wall Street owners. The “Uptown United” plan has specific protections for our small businesses on these corridors such as store front length and area limitations which have worked well in other neighborhoods such as the Upper West Side.

    • … ‘Armchair urban planners’ would refer to the ones who created the city planning efforts. The community plan was written by community members, meaning the opposite of armchair urban planners..

  3. Parking in this neighborhood is really difficult. We need to provide for the influx of cars that will accompany more housing. If congestion pricing is approved there will be even more.

  4. Yikes… packing more “affordable/free housing” into a already small neighborhood; which already supports a major MTA bus transit hub and major waste management center… Yeh, “great idea” that’ll help the bridge gridlock and blatant and unregulated ‘Free Double-Parking On Broadway’…

  5. Top-down plans are what happens when you disregard, as have the last several mayors, the expertise in the Department of City Planning and the Borough President’s planning office. It’s not a bad idea to have NYCEDC closely involved, but why are they driving the planning process to start with? Why have recent mayors seen DCP as a mere instrument for regulating the ULURP process? They actually do have qualified urban planners! Why has the community board not put forward its own full 197-a plan? If all they’re prepared to do is react, they’re going to be steamrollered. What is the position of the Borough President? This coverage leaves out a lot.

  6. This neighbor could use some changing. Needs new businesses that are not cell phone stores, nail salons, or restaurants that have hookah and DJs.

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  8. Here’s a way to put the way-out-of-scale EDC rezoning plan in perspective. City Planning Dept data shows that City population is expected to grow by 3.3% by 2030. EDC’s own environmental review data says the rezoning would cause Inwood’s population to grow by 34% (~14,000 people) by 2032. That’s asking Inwood to absorb TEN TIMES Inwood’s share of the City’s population growth. But it’s worse than that. As we commented in the environmental review, the City’s “development scenario” for projecting growth and impact is way understated. We cited 8 specific criteria that are wrong and cause projected development to be understated. The City did not respond on the merits about a single criterion. So Inwood’s population growth by 2032 could easily be 50% to 70%. Outside our parkland, Inwood is quite small in area and in most parts quite dense. Asking us to absorb that much growth is crazy! But we are not a NIMBY group. We are not anti-growth. We know the City needs more housing and some can be built in Inwood. There are a few underdeveloped segments of Inwood that can grow significantly. The “Uptown United” alternative plan does include reasonably upzoning and ambitious growth in selected areas, as long as our ancient infrastructure is fixed first. In fact, the Uptown United plan projects Inwood population growth by 2032 at 22%. Quite robust, but reasonable; not the outrageous growth that EDC’s plan would portend.

    • No one in city government is paying any attention to what effect such massive growth will have on the city’s aging infrastructure. What will all these new apartments do to the city’s water/sewer systems? Many of the water mains in Manhattan are over 100 years old. Many of water treatment facilities are close to 60 years old. Will upper Manhattan experience a dangerous drop in water pressure? What about electric and gas infrastructure?

  9. Note that EDC spokesperson Baez said that “community engagement … ultimately defined the proposal the City proposed.” That’s what they say in public. And in a press release last June, even the mayor called “Inwood NYC” a “community-driven” plan. But EDC knows better. In the environmental scoping phase, we commented that they “should strike all claims that the Inwood Rezoning Proposal is the result of collaboration with the community or a community-driven process, as these claims are patently false.” Their response was: “Comment noted. Neither the DSOW nor the FSOW reference a community-driven process.” But this admission is buried in a technical appendix (Final Scope of Work, Appendix 4, p. 17), while in public they keep saying they’re responsive to the community. The community knows better.

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