The Department of City Planning projects the city’s proposed rezoning of Bushwick could lead to an increase of 5,613 units of housing, which includes 1,873 permanently affordable housing units. Bushwick could also see an additional 17,849 residents and 6,116 workers in the neighborhood over the next 10 years, according to a key document in the project’s public review process.
Those projections are found in the “draft scope” (which can be found here) a document describing the details of a land-use action and outlining the methods the city will use to study the project’s potential impacts, which will be described in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The city must release a draft EIS before it can launch the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the multi-step public review process required to legalize a land-use change. DCP’s predictions are based on an assessment of development trends and other factors.
The de Blasio administration has already rezoned five neighborhoods–East New York, Downtown Far Rockaway, East Harlem, Jerome Avenue, Inwood–to increase density, paving the way for more market-rate and income-targeted (a.k.a. “affordable”) housing. Besides Bushwick, there are pending plans for Bay Street in Staten Island and Gowanus in Brooklyn. A plan for Southern Boulevard is at an earlier stage of development.
The city released its Bushwick rezoning proposal in April. That came after some in the Bushwick community decided to craft their own rezoning, after watching out-of-context development, rapid displacement and rising rents transform the area.
The Bushwick Community Plan steering committee, under the leadership of Councilmembers Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal, presented its own plan last year in September. The city’s plan differs from the community vision in significant ways. In particular, the city wants more market-rate development than the community plan contemplated.
In April, during the city’s presentation of their neighborhood draft plan, residents and community board members also stressed that they did not want to permit conversion of manufacturing space to residential development, because of its impact on blue-collar jobs.
The rezoning study area is an approximately 300-block or 1,300-acre area of Bushwick bounded by Wyckoff Avenue and Irving Avenue to the north, Moffat and Vanderveer streets to the east, Broadway to the south, and Flushing Avenue to the west.
According to the draft scope, the rezoning could lead to an additional 1,610,775 square feet of commercial space, 248,213 square feet of community facility space, 293,899 square feet of industrial space. There would be a decrease of 22,000 square feet of self-storage uses and 881,000 square feet of parking uses. On publicly-owned sites, the rezoning plan would include “approximately 332 affordable housing units.”
The draft scope also projects there will be a total of 206 development sites – 167 projected and 39 potential – in the rezoning area. The projected development sites are considered more likely to be developed and potential sites are less likely within the 10-year analysis period.
The city casts the rezoning as a necessity to protect a changing neighborhood. According to the draft scope, if there was no rezoning action taken, the area could expect an increase of 1,678 housing units and zero affordable housing units over the next 10 years. If there is a rezoning action Bushwick could see 7,291 housing units, which would include 1,873 affordable housing units.
Jose Lopez from Make the Road NY said creating and preserving affordable housing were drivers for the community’s push for a rezoning plan in the face of rising rents and displacement. But Lopez says the draft scope reveals the city did not take the community plan’s principles seriously.
In the last April meeting with the city, Brooklyn Community Board 4 Chair Robert Comacho told City Planning staff the rezoning would not happen if the community was not on board.
The Department of City Planning has scheduled a scoping meeting for for Thursday, June 27th, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. and will be held at Bushwick High School, 400 Irving Avenue, Brooklyn.