Neighborhoods Push for Benefits in New York Zoning Plan
Bridging Gowanus, backed by City Councilmember Brad Lander, is a community planning effort spurred in part by residents’ fears that the rezoning program, meant to make room for more housing, could lead to speculation, rising land prices, and displacement.
The plan proposes a trade-off: Gowanus would absorb more density—in the form of both market-rate and affordable apartments—if some of the profit were directed toward investment in infrastructure as well as protections for current residents. The New York Times writes:
They lay out priorities that neighbors have debated and rallied around — improving streets and parks; protecting lower-income residents and small businesses; addressing environmental resilience. And, of course, making sure growth comes with more and better schools, cultural programs and transit.
The group's website suggests that there is potential for these plans to be adopted by the city:
Starting in the fall of 2016, the community will begin working with the NYC Department of City Planning and other government agencies to develop a planning and land-use framework for the Gowanus neighborhood.
Other neighborhoods are advocating for more protections in the city’s program. A recent report from Regional Plan Association detailed the need for the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, which has support from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Though participating in the mayor's program, NYT writes, these community planning processes also reflect the notion that "zoning should grow out of holistic planning based on participatory governance."