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little-support-for-new-apartments-supermarket-throggs-neck-councilmember-marjorie-velazquez-against – THE CITY

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As you walk down Edison Avenue in Slogs Neck, you will see signs with the same words “upzoning” with a red “X” in the windows of the houses.

This is a signal that some residents are against recent proposals to upzone part of nearby Bruckner Boulevard. The developer wants to convert the supermarket there and build about 400 new apartments.

Local resident Christina Reda, 30, said she thought it was “silly” that the development applicants were trying to build more housing in the area.

“We’re a residential neighborhood that doesn’t need skyscrapers or anything like that. We enjoy parts of the Bronx that don’t include huge buildings,” she said. .”

If four buildings are built, the area will have 339 additional apartments, 94 of which will be income-limited.

The proposal was submitted in July 2021 by local supermarket food town owners and grocery store neighborhood landlords. faced an uphill battle since its inception. Several community meetings on rezoning applications were controversial.

Key stakeholders stand with Reda and the opposition as Throggs Neck’s proposal heads for the first of a series of major yes or no votes due to begin later this month. Neighborhood City Councilman Marjorie Velázquez is against the current plans.

Velasquez says she is against it for the same reasons as her constituents.

“I think the community has made their point clear. Based on their continued protests, it’s clear the developers haven’t addressed the issues they had,” she told THE CITY. said in a statement.

The lots that developer Throggs Neck Associates LLC wants to upzoon are now designated R-3 and R-4 residential zones. C1-2 zone commercial district.

This allows the construction of semi-detached one- and two-family homes, single-family homes, three-story homes, small commercial buildings or multi-family homes with retail outlets on the ground floor.

This is a mixture commonly found in less dense areas throughout the city, especially Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

A “No Upzoning” sign on Edison Avenue in Slogs Neck, two blocks from Superfoodtown, August 11, 2022.

Developers define areas as R6A zoneor medium-density residential buildings, C2-4 Commercial buildings zoned to accommodate both the existing Superfood Town as well as the new stores and apartment buildings along Bruckner Boulevard.

For many who have opposed Leda and the development plan, it means adding more people to the burdened area.

“Our neighborhood is already overcrowded, our schools are overcrowded, our hospitals are overcrowded. Our infrastructure is already ruined and we are experiencing massive flooding,” she said.

already a burden

Throggs Neck is in the flood zone, Hurricane Ida The city was hit last year by the latest storm that caused massive flooding, making it particularly hard hit power to home in your neighborhood.

The public school across from this proposed development, PS 14, has 569 students enrolled as of the 2019-20 school year. according to the data Provided by the New York City Department of Education. In 2016, it was 159% capacity, According to reports By The Bronx Times. As a result, the school building was expanded to twice its former size.

The closest hospital to Slogs Neck, Westchester Square Medical Center, is an eight-minute drive from the proposed upzoning site. Hospitalization rates rose after a new, more contagious variant of Covid-19 was discovered in the city in 2019. January of this year.

Another resident, George Havlenek, filed a petition against Suggestions for upzoning districts.

“Our community can neither bid nor sell … development works well when the right things are in the right places,” Havrenek says. (Havrenek did not respond to THE CITY for further comment.)

Michelle de la Houz, former member of the City Planning Commission and executive director of Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue Commission, a community organization focused on affordable housing and housing justice, said transportation , sewage, and concerns about overcrowding in the city.

Depending on each case, Mr. De La Houz said that the composition of the slogs neck was — One of the least developed and most affordable regions Adding 384 residential units to the city won’t have much of an impact.

“All regions must do their fair share [of affordable housing]And a gradual increase of 384 units in Throggs Neck, a population of about 20,000 — that is, we [small] population growth. We’re not talking dramatic here,” said de la Uz.

Another “No Upzoning” sign on Edison Avenue in Slogs Neck, two blocks from Superfoodtown, August 11, 2022.

Peter Bivona, one of the co-applicants of the rezoning proposal and the brother of the owner of Super Foodtown, agrees. He said he listens to community concerns, but ultimately his focus is on creating more affordable housing in downzone or low-density neighborhoods like this one.

“If you needed a place to live that you could afford to live in and you couldn’t have it in this neighborhood, how would you want to be treated … Unit 384 is nothing. It’s really nothing,” Bivona said. told THE CITY.

He added that he felt there were too few affordable units in the area, and that there was a need for offers like theirs.

“I follow a lot of trade papers and real estate, and every community board has these bullet points: public health, police, transportation, hospitals,” he said.

According to the New York Housing Council’s housing tracker, 58 affordable apartments were built in the area between 2014 and 2021. That’s 1,169 fewer homes for him than the city-wide average for the same period.

Lack of support

So far, Bivona and other co-applicants for the rezoning proposal have only one “yes” vote from Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. But without the support of City Councilor Velázquez and other city councilors, her approval alone would not be enough to move the application forward.

In a statement, Bronx BP said it feels the need for affordable housing outweighs protests against upzoning.

“We believe this project will serve as a model of what an inclusive neighborhood can look like. Traditionally low density, but with infrastructure improvements to accommodate it, will be a strategic It’s an area that can be very dense,” says Gibson. on her recommendation in June to approve zoning applications.

Gibson’s recommendations are advisory only and have no legal effect on project approval or disapproval.Similarly, on the Throggs Neck community board Rejection of May planning is also helpful.

The City Planning Commission then considers the proposal. According to the City Planning Bureau, the Chinese Communist Party plans to hold a vote on the zoning application by the end of August.

It is then up to the City Council to decide whether to approve the application.

With Velázquez not on board, it is unlikely that other members of the council will vote against her opinion. It upholds the tradition of parliamentary obedience, most often voting in unanimity with the City Council representatives representing the district.

But members of the council defied the tradition of respect for members just last yearwhen he voted against Ben Kalos (D-Manhattan) in his bid to block a proposed upzoning application for a blood center on the Upper East Side.

According to the Gotham Gazette, it was the first time in over a decade that a member’s respect was ignored, the last time being in 2009.

At present, given the backlash from the community and Velázquez’s current opposition to the project, Throggs Neck Associates LLC has decided not to change some aspects of the proposal, such as reducing the total number of units and designing the building. It may not be possible to proceed with the planned development. Not much taller than many buildings in the area.

Regarding the success of upzoning projects, De la Uz said leaders need to listen to community needs and address concerns about overcrowding and resource conflicts. urgent need for housing in the city.

“A lot of it helps people understand. We’ve been through the affordable housing crisis for over 70 years. That’s why we control rent,” she said. said. “How would you like to be treated if you needed a place to live comfortably?”

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