It’s something we hear time and again: Local residents oppose whatever development du jour is being proposed — whether it’s a rezoning or a mega-project. And more often than not, the project goes forward, despite opposition.
But very rarely do the scattered neighborhood groups ever get together. We can think of only two times in recent memory: Movement to Protect the People founder Alicia Boyd and supporters ventured out to East New York to network with residents there over the proposed rezoning of the area last year. Then Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park came out to testify about their experience with rezoning at the first public hearing on the East New York rezoning last month in Brownsville.
Now, more than 50 neighborhood groups have joined together to fight large-scale development city wide — and the ties between politicians and the real estate industry.
Members of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park testify at a public hearing in Brownsville about Mayor de Blasio’s proposed East New York rezoning in October. Photo by Hannah Frishberg
New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City is calling for an end to “the violence that real estate developers have inflicted on our skyline, parks, public areas, and cityscape.” The group has created an online petition that calls for changes to laws, requires regulatory appointees be “free of ties to the real estate industry,” and low-rise development and affordable housing that will protect the historic character of the city.
Participants include Save the View Now, which has gone to court over Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park; Movement to Protect the People, which has fought an upzoning on Empire Boulevard in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and attracted attention citywide for its disruptive protest tactics; Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, or FROGG, which has opposed development in Gowanus; and Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, which wants the City to deliver the waterfront park it promised in exchange for the 2005 rezoning of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfront.
Movement to Protect the People founder Alicia Boyd protesting at a Community Board 9 meeting in March. Photo by Cate Corcoran
Surprisingly, the Cobble Hill Association, which fought the closure and sale of Long Island College Hospital as a development site, was not among the group’s sponsors.
As for Mayor de Blasio, the group wants a “policy change” from him, said Save the View Now founder Steven Guterman in a letter to members. New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City “calls for an end to the way the real estate lobby has captured our city government and all its regulatory bodies like City Planning and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. As has been often reported in the press, developers are major contributors to the Mayors election campaign and his nonprofit Campaign for One New York,” he said.
You can see the full petition here.
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