NEW YORK—Brooklynites rallied against the proposed plan to re-zone 50 acres of urban renewal area on Monday.
Located at the border of Williamsburg and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, it is an area which has mostly gone underdeveloped and partially vacant for years.
“For years when the Broadway triangle, went undeveloped, the residents of this community of Bedford Stuyvesant called this home, they refused to abandon it,” said Juan Ramos, chairman of the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition.
According to Ramos what hurts most is that the local communities were excluded, “we believe it is our right to be part of that process.”
The coalition states that the current plan for the use of the 50 acres, only builds less than half of a possible 4,000 units of housing.
And that guarantees are made for no more than 150 units of affordable housing. Officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, have touted a plan for 900 units.
Councilwoman Diana Reyna called the current project “a political deal,” and said “we stand against a plan that leaves us out.”
With rents on the rise, growing concerns exist among the local residents, mainly consisting of Hispanic, Hasidic, and black communities, on whether they can keep on paying the rising rent.
Leonides Reyes can testify that, with the rent having continually risen, he now has concerns about the possibility of needing to move elsewhere.
According to coalition president Ramos the rent has been skyrocketing, mainly because of gentrification, with rents in some cases going up to $1,600 dollars for a one bedroom apartment.
“I’m tired of saying bye to neighbors, I’m tired of seeing family move away because they move to other states where they can afford to live,” said Ramos.
The issue is complicated by the fact that many Brooklynites are supporting the plan since they are satisfied with the amount of affordable housing that would be provided.
“Through an intensive process, we’ve been able to achieve overwhelming involvement from community groups,” reads a statement from Assemblymember Vito Lopez, according to the New York Post.
Lopez said that many community members “continually voted for contextual re-zoning and overwhelmingly supported this plan, as has … an overwhelming number of elected officials including Councilmember David Yassky, Senator Martin Dilan, and Assemblymember Joseph Lentol.”
The city council was planned to vote on Monday on the re-zone, but has been postponed until Wednesday.