Friday, April 18, 2008

Planned Rezoning Elicits Housing Concerns at Community Board 9

Planned Rezoning Elicits Housing Concerns at Community Board 9
By Daniel Amzallag

Affordable housing and public-school overcrowding took the forefront at Thursday evening’s Community Board 9 meeting, as the board focused on issues surrounding the rezoning of 125th Street before passing several resolutions.

The rezoning, commonly known as the “River-to-River” plan, encompasses 125th Street from Broadway to 2nd Avenue and was passed in City Council subcommittee and committee this week with modifications primarily pushed by councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Morningside Heights and Central Harlem.

Attendees raised questions about the affordability of housing that will be built as a result of the rezoning. 1,785 units—classified by the city as affordable, given average median income—will be built, a representative for Dickens outlined at the meeting. 200 of those units will be income-targeted based on the average median income of community districts 9 and 10, which cover W. 110th to W. 155th streets.

“HPD [Department of Housing Preservation and Development] has not done a good job keeping affordable affordable,” board member Georgette Morgan-Thomas said.Tom DeMott, CC ’80 and leader of the Coalition to Preserve Community, a WestHarlem activist group, questioned a representative for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on the issue of overcrowding in local public schools.

“In Harlem, because of gentrification processes, we are actually losing students,” DeMott said, citing a problem that does not affect charter schools.

But any transfer of students to such charter schools does not alleviate overcrowding, Morgan-Thomas said.

“We’ve lost students, but not to the degree that we don’t have overcrowding,” she said. “Our students are suffering immensely.”

At the end of the meeting, the community board passed resolutions calling for changes in parking regulations in certain areas and the construction of a traffic light.

TAGS: 125th Street rezoning, affordable housing, CB9

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