Activists mobilize against rezoning proposal

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Activists are organizing opposition to the Department of City Planning’s (DPC) proposal to rezone the northwest Bronx to accommodate more affordable housing as the city gets ready to make its next pitch to Community Board (CB) 8.

A June presentation from DCP outlining measures including raising the height limit on senior affordable housing and reducing parking requirements at such buildings drew outrage from attendees and skepticism from CB 8 members.

Now groups including the Broadway Community Alliance are mobilizing residents to pressure local elected officials, sign a petition against DCP’s proposal and attend the next CB 8 meeting that DCP attends to present its plans in detail. DCP said it wants its rezoning plan, called the Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) proposal, to enter public review at the end of next month.

A related plan, the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which aims at making a share of new housing permanently affordable, will enter review around the same time. Meanwhile, both the board and DCP are conducting working groups to propose changes to Special Natural Area District (SNAD) rules. It remains to be seen how that work could affect the rezoning and affordable housing proposals.

One of the Broadway Community Alliance’s main organizers, Laura Spalter, said Riverdale is becoming overdeveloped even under current zoning rules.

“The rezoning will only exacerbate what we already have issues with,” she said, pointing to controversial developments at 6155 Broadway and 6469 Broadway, where the Broadway Community Alliance previously compelled the builder Selfhelp to scrap plans to include units for the mentally ill along with affordable senior housing.

“We are trying to protect open space. We are trying to protect our greenery. We’re trying to protect our infrastructure,” Ms. Spalter added.

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