New York City Council Passes Controversial Bruckner Blvd. Rezoning
John Jordan | October 17, 2022
NEW YORK—The controversial Bruckner Boulevard rezoning proposal that was supported by city leaders and labor unions, but was opposed by some community advocates, including Community Board 10, was passed unanimously by the New York City Council on Oct. 12 by a 48-0 vote.
The approval is a victory for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who supported the proposal that will make way for an affordable housing project that will create 349 homes—including 168 rent regulated homes—in the neighborhood of Throggs Neck in the Bronx. The project includes 99 homes reserved for seniors, 25 homes that will be made available to veterans in need, and a new supermarket.
A key to the project’s approval was when project opponent Council Member Marjorie Velázquez signaled her support for the rezoning prior to the City Council’s Land Use Committee vote on Oct. 6.
“Throughout this process, I have maintained a commitment to prioritizing the needs of my district and local neighborhoods,” said Council Member Velázquez. “We are in the middle of a citywide housing crisis that is similarly felt by residents of my district, with seniors and working people facing strains to remain in our neighborhoods. The updated project voted out of the council’s committees today delivers significantly deeper affordable housing for our community, more good jobs for residents, and additional benefits for the neighborhood. This provides tangible benefits for the people of our community and transforms the unfortunate reality that this office before me had been unable to provide affordable housing for our residents, with less than 60 units produced in the last eight years. We have far surpassed that in less than a year. I will never stop fighting for my local community and always remain committed to negotiating to the end to deliver for the people of my district.”
The Bronx Times reported that Community Board 10 was still opposed to the Bruckner rezoning after the full City Council vote. “We’ll deal with the hand we’re dealt with, but we were not supportive at all,” said Bronx Community Board 10 Chairperson Joseph Russo. “I don’t know what community the councilwoman (Velázquez) is speaking of, because the community was very adamant about their lack of support for this project—not only for the project, for the applicants.”
After the Land Use Committee vote earlier this month, New York City Mayor Adams said the vote was “a victory for the Throggs Neck community, the Bronx, and the entire city.”
He added, “This project will bring nearly 350 much needed homes—including affordable housing for seniors and veterans—to a neighborhood that has only added 58 affordable units in the last decade. Just as importantly, it is a sign that our city is once again embracing our identity as a ‘City of Yes.’ The housing crisis impacts all of us, and every community has a responsibility to be part of the solution and help us provide safe, quality homes to all New Yorkers. I’m proud to have been a vocal proponent of this project, and I look forward to working with the speaker and the entire City Council to advance citywide changes that will allow us to finally build the housing we so desperately need.”
“New York’s housing crisis is a citywide problem that requires a citywide solution, and we need to powerfully reject the NIMBYism that should have no place anywhere in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres Springer. “We thank the City Council for their support of this project and leadership at a time when we need all New Yorkers to do their part in ensuring we see our way out of this housing crisis and move forward as a just and equitable city.”
Borough President Vanessa Gibson called the approval of the Bruckner rezoning proposal “a step in the right direction that will serve to provide affordable and permanent housing for Bronx families and New Yorkers.”
She noted that during the public hearing process on the proposal, her office hosted two days of hearings that garnered input and feedback from stakeholders, residents, advocates, and union members. Based on those sessions, the Bronx Borough President’s Office made recommendations that it believed could enhance the proposal while understanding the low-density residential community that families of Throgs Neck have experienced since 2004.
“We cannot ignore the housing crisis that our city is facing,” Gibson said. “Working-class families who are our essential workers and frontline staff deserve stable housing and will now have these opportunities in our borough.”