7 thoughts on “Council Approves Inwood Rezoning Amid Protest

  1. This statement requires clarification: “Spearheaded by Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, the 59-block plan promises affordable housing, parks, waterfront development, infrastructure renovations and a raft of services to the northern Manhattan neighborhood.”

    A rezoning is a change to the zoning map. It does impact affordable housing since where upzoning occurs you do get added to the MIH map and that comes into effect. But all the rest — parks, watefront development, infrastructure, services — have absolutely nothing to do with rezoning and are all basically bribes (and non-binding ones at that) to sweeten the deal. The councilmember should have been getting all of those things for his neighborhood anyway.

    As a zoning matter, there are no new parks for the 12,000+ projected new residents. There is a nonbinding promise from the city to create two tiny strips at Academy St (ConEd land) and North Cove (I think MTA land), and each waterfront parcel has a WAP that requires a 40 ft strip of public access when developed, but those are not substitutes for either usable park space or connections that go from somewhere to somewhere.

    Also, in your list of concerns you left out the fact that the plan is just shoddy urban planning. Some of the buildings are way overscaled, with densities not seen north of Central Park. There is commercial on every single block, even though what works best in Inwood are some of its noncommercial streets. The use of city land for housing and not parks is a break from past policy, while some of the allowable land uses are bad fits (Inwood does not need more nightclubs). The removal of the U was really the last straw, leaving a complete mess of a plan with a now rather obviously spot-zoned half block to benefit the library (unnecessary for redevelopment) and the adjacent sites owned by politically connected players. Take a look: https://ibb.co/gXoU1U And don’t get me started about blocking housing from the northern end and leaving it blighted just in case the hospital ever wants a 27 story expansion. Where did that come from?

    There are many who can’t be bothered to read the nuanced points above — this is Manhattan, we need housing, rezone to get the most housing. But even if you take this view the politics were a disaster — the plan as passed will yield FEWER HOUSING UNITS than the “lower density alternative” evaluated in the FEIS that set all upzoned areas at 11 stories. Yes, fewer units than what would have been a much better plan.

    Shame on the city, the mayor, and the clowns at EDC who wouldn’t know zoning if their own low-density brownstones were upzoned. What a sham.

  2. Sounds like more of the same old : politics of the powerful combined with poor planning plus bureaucratic arrogance and political ambitions beyond an elected official’s district—v. a solid attempt to address the real needs of real people in a real neighborhood. Bah humbug on the city–sadly, once again! What will it take to change this kind of self serving m.o. by NYC pols?

    ksf PhD

  3. Jeanie Dubnau is absolutely right about the “Commercial U.” Council Member Rodriguez saying he did what the community wanted by taking out most of the “U” to protect small businesses is a complete hoax. Almost all the areas around the “U” will be contextually zoned with height limits. It makes complete planning sense for the “U” to be contextually zoned to the same height, especially if you want to protect existing small businesses. Reverting the “U” to existing zoning is an invitation to developers to buy adjacent 1-and 2-story buildings so they can combines air rights and build tall towers with expensive condos or rentals on higher floors. They have not done this under existing zoning because there’s no market for it. But with the rezoning introducing about 8,000 new residents much wealthier than most current Inwood tenants, coming to the new market rate apartments, the market will be there and many of those small commercial buildings–and the businesses in them–will be gone. Contextual zoning would have prevented this. Some new development might still happen in a contextual “U” but it would have been more gradual and less extreme, with more time for the community to adapt and for at least some businesses to relocate in the community.

  4. In addition, lets make mention how useless our local Assembly Member Rev. Al Taylor has been regarding the zoning. When it comes to housing issues like transparency @ HPD the Rev. will be praying for that. Just got his newsletter in the mail and there is nothing about bills signed, addressing housing issues when it comes to HPD corrupt developers and property managers.

  5. I agree with the previous comments, particularly Inwood Resident, with the first comment.

    My only addition is my disgust at the NYPL trustees. New York needs some real library trustees, not billion-dollar-a-year CEO’s with a penchant for chiselling their names on the 42nd Street Central Library. Libraries are libraries and performing arts centers are just that.
    One goes to a library for books and other information. Turning libraries into entertainment centers and further commercializing them with gift shops and wine bars is not what we need of our libraries and not what we want from our trustees.
    Inwood library is a historically significant structure. Demolishing a good building to replace it with something unspecified, is wanton foolishness, with a complete disregard for the environmental impact of such waste. Inwood library is an award-winning library (2016). If the air rights are what the NYPL trustees (mostly hedge-fund and real estate people) want, then sell them and use the funds to improve our current Inwood library.
    Build the new structure, whatever it may actually be, (there has been no public disclosure of any real plans, only a few pictures), on one of the City owned sites in east Inwood. All the new residents will need a library. Maybe Steven A. Schwarzman would like to legitimately put his name on this structure – the Schwarzman – Eliza. Now there’s an idea!

  6. This is Michael Weaver giving my opinion about this topic because there’s just too much of this rezoning of neighborhoods being ignored for so long and now seemed to succombed to corporate interest instead of long needs of working class residents has been lost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *