According to local politicians, an upcoming and controversial rezoning of Bushwick is rejecting years of community planning.
Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal, who both represent Bushwick, released a joint statement Monday decrying the city’s plan to rezone much of Bushwick while disregarding input from members of the community.
By ignoring the neighborhood plan, which began in 2014 as an effort to design a comprehensive plan for development in Bushwick, the city is “leaving a neighborhood that suffered years of disinvestment followed by ruthless gentrification to be swallowed by irresponsible development,” the council members said.
“When we began the process of developing a community-based plan for Bushwick, we could have never imagined that Bushwick would receive a level of apathy from our local government reminiscent of the policies that left Bushwick to burn in the 1970s,” they added in the statement.
Released in 2018, the Bushwick community Plan centered on a few key areas that were important to residents: rezone main thoroughfares, including Wyckoff Avenue and Dekalb Avenue, and preserve residential areas; keep certain areas that are currently zoned for manufacturing; and preserve historic character, particularly on and around Bushwick Avenue.
This isn’t the community’s first attempt at voicing their concerns. At a public scoping meeting in July 2019, which marked the beginning of the environmental review process, a number of people spoke passionately about the loss of manufacturing jobs that will result from the rezoning, while others questioned the need for buildings up to 16 stories along what city planning is calling the “transit corridors” along Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff and Broadway.
Those areas currently contain mostly three- and four-story mixed-used apartment buildings dating from around the turn of the last century and many stores and restaurants catering to area’s large Spanish speaking population.
Although a date has yet to be set, the statement implies that, soon, the rezoning application will be submitted to City Planning, officially kicking off the ULURP process. During that period, which can last for almost a year, the council members will serve an integral role in what becomes of their neighborhood.
“Bushwick will continue to fight for the resources it deserves, it’s what we’ve always had to do,” the council members said, concluding their statement.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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