A Planning Showdown in New York City

The proposal to rezone the Industry City redevelopment area in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn has won a key approval, but a controversial showdown in the City Council still awaits.

August 23, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Sunset Park, Brooklyn

The Bush Terminal Piers Park is located just to the south of the site of the proposed Industrial City redevelopment. | Emma_Griffiths / Shutterstock

Kathryn Brenzel reports that the New York City Planning Commission has approved a rezoning proposal for Industry City, "setting the stage for a dramatic decision by the City Council." While Carlos Menchaca, the city councilmember representing the area, has opposed the project, "fellow members Ritchie Torres, Donovan Richards and Robert Cornegy Jr. have urged their colleagues to defy the City Council tradition of reflexively voting along with the local member’s wishes," according to Brenzel.

"Also, labor and business groups have called on City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to support the rezoning, pointing to the proposal’s projected creation of jobs and $100 million in annual tax revenue," reports Kathryn Brenzel.

The debate about the rezoning proposal is taking place in the shadow of the failed plan to bring the second headquarters of Amazon to Long Island City, with each side of the issue claiming that their cause would improve the racial equity and economic development of the neighborhood.

"Marisa Lago, a mayoral appointee who chairs the commission, emphasized that the city is in dire need of jobs as the pandemic has sent unemployment soaring. She noted that residents of low-income communities and Black, indigenous people of color are hardest hit during times of economic crisis," according to Brenzel.

"The plan’s opponents make the exact opposite argument, claiming that the 20,000 jobs forecast by the business campus’ owners, Jamestown, will gentrify Sunset Park and push locals out."

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