Borough President testified against the rezoning because of as-of-right hotel use and “big box” retail provisions. On April 9, 2008, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on the Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone a 75- block area in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. The proposed rezoning would establish the Special Hunts Point District, bounded by the Bruckner Expressway, Halleck Street, and Ryawa and Oak Point Avenues. The area is characterized by a small residential district surrounded by industrial uses, such as the relocated Fulton Fish Market and the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, as well as some waste-related uses.
The proposed Special Hunts Point District would consist of two subdistricts, one residential and the other catered to the food industry. According to City Planning, 13 residential lots and 47 commercial lots, representing 31 businesses, do not comply with the proposed rezoning. 5 CityLand 9 (Feb. 15, 2008).
At the Planning Commission’s public hearing, a representative for Bronx Borough President Carrion testified that hotels should not be allowed in areas remote from central business districts, mass transit, and tourist generators. In addition, he warned that the proposal should prohibit “big box” retail stores from the southern and eastern sides of the residential subdistrict because they could adversely impact the neighborhood.
Josephine Infante, Executive Director of the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, echoed Carrion’s concerns, and noted that hotels and “big box” retailers would require too much parking for the residential portion of the neighborhood. Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden asked Infante if her objection to large retailers would apply to supermarkets over 10,000 sq.ft. Infante said it would not.
The Commission has until June 6, 2008 to vote on the proposal.