DCP Initiates Public Review Procedure for Proposed Rezoning of East New York

East New York rezoning map. Image credit: DCP

East New York rezoning map. Image credit: DCP

The proposal would create new affordable housing, public parks, and other community improvements.  On September 21, 2015, the City Planning Commission began the public review process for the Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone several neighborhoods in Brooklyn.  The East New York Community Plan would invest in the improvement of the East New York, Ocean Hill, and Cypress Hills neighborhoods of Brooklyn—represented by Community Boards 5 and 16—by adding affordable housing and community resources that seek to boost the local economy and prevent the displacement of existing residents.

The Community Plan is one of three programs proposed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan at the end of September of 2015.  It prioritizes the construction of more than 1,200 affordable housing units within two years and lays out plans to construct a new, 1,000-seat school, transform under-utilized concrete space into vibrant community parks, redesign and improve upon the Broadway Junction subway complex, and make additional improvements to the area’s infrastructure.  The Community Plan is the product of a three-year-long collaborative effort by local Brooklyn residents, elected officials, and stakeholders, and its implementation will involve the coordinated efforts of the School Construction Authority, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Transportation, and several other city agencies.  Further, Council member Rafael Espinal has pledged additional funding to repair the Sperandeo Brothers playground.

Several Brooklyn activists have been largely critical of the Community Plan.  Real Affordability for All, a coalition that advocates for affordable housing and union issues, issued a report criticizing the de Blasio Administration’s approach to affordable housing as being an aggravating factor in the gentrification crisis throughout the western neighborhoods of Brooklyn.  “Based on existing income levels, residents of color in East New York,” according to the report, “will not gain access to new housing.  It will be too expensive for them, unless their wages are increased substantially.”

The community boards now have until mid-November of 2015 to review and comment on the Community Plan before it goes to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

By: Jessica Soultanian-Braunstein (Jessica is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2015)

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