Rezoning foes show their strength


About 150 northwest Bronx residents packed a local bar on Oct. 8 to solidify their opposition to the mayor’s plan to rezone large swaths of the neighborhood.

The forum took the form of a teach-in, with activist organizers giving critical presentations about the Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) plans along with possible changes to the neighborhood’s Special Natural Area District (SNAD) rules. Local elected officials also spoke against the plans.

“We have to work together. We have to get the complaints in,” activist Laura Spalter told residents at Kelly Ryan’s Bar & Restaurant on Mosholu Avenue. “There’s power in numbers. There’s strength when we’re unified.”

Damian McShane, who co-leads the Broadway Community Alliance opposed to the rezoning plan with Ms. Spalter, went on to discuss ZQA and the Mandatory Inclusionary Plan, saying they will pave the way for over-development in North Riverdale and other parts of the northwest Bronx.

Earlier this year, the Department of City Planning unveiled ZQA, which would raise building height limits by about a story in parts of the neighborhood and ease parking requirements for new buildings, among other changes. MIH calls for 25 to 30 percent of new apartments in rezoned neighborhoods to go to low-income households. Meanwhile, DCP has a working group to consider modifying SNAD rules, originally intended to protect Riverdale’s natural features. The efforts are aimed at facilitating Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of creating 80,000 affordable housing units and preserving 120,000 others over the next 10 years.

“[Mr. de Blasio] is saying this is crucial for our ability to support senior and affordable housing needs,” said Mr. McShane, a former chairman of Community Board (CB) 8. “I’m not here to say those things are bad. I’m here to say that his rezoning is bad and it will have a disproportionate impact, in particular in North Riverdale.”

DCP’s press office did not provide comment on last week’s meeting for this article.

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