By Mark Hallum
City Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) is putting on hold any further negotiations with the de Blasio administration about rezoning plans after the approval of the controversial Inwood rezoning fanned fears that vulnerable residents could be displaced in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood.
Moya is calling for a task force to be put in place to address zoning changes, which he said could drive displacement and pit members of the working class against each other.
“The Inwood rezoning marks the second straight neighborhood rezoning in a community of color where this administration used divisive tactics to push its agenda,” Moya said in a statement. “For weeks, I’ve listened to concerns on both sides of this rezoning. Organized labor wants good paying jobs, residents want protections from predatory landlords and displacement. These parties are all working-class people who should be fighting together, hand in hand. But today, they are at odds, fighting with one another for fewer and fewer resources. Tell me, who benefits from this division?”
Moya’s opposition to negotiating rezonings with the de Blasio administration did not include spot rezonings of specific plots, he said in a clarification letter, and would not affect any decisions made by the Committee on Land Use and the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, which will not make any calls on upcoming changes to neighborhoods in the city until the fall.
He said this would give his office and City Hall plenty of time to discuss establishing a task force.
“This administration is trying to divide the working-class. He is pitting organized labor against low- and middle-class New Yorkers while propping up a system that enriches developers,” Moya continued. “We all want growth, but growth that lifts everyone up, not just the developers. A rising tide does not lift all ships — not when some of them are drowning.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, on the Brian Lehrer Show Aug. 3, said that the rezoning in Inwood would bring in 4,000 affordable units for residents, but many believe the new units would be accompanied by unrestricted rentals priced at market rate.
“The concept of the rezoning, the reason we do rezonings, is to create affordable housing,” de Blasio said. “Why do communities want it is the underlying question, because it creates affordable housing, preserves affordable housing. In the case of Inwood, 4,000 apartments will either be built or preserved and that means, when you think about the multiplier in terms of people, well over 10,000 people in that community will have affordable housing who don’t have it now. I’m talking about long-term, decades of guaranteed affordability.”
He added, “If anybody – any Council member says no, I don’t want something that will create … affordability for 10,000 of my residents who don’t have that guarantee right now, we’ll move on.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall