Since the neighborhood that Crow Hill Community Association serves sits in the middle of the area covered by the Department of City Planning’s Crown Height’s West rezoning proposal, the Association chose to take a leadership role in bringing this issue to our community.
On April 16th we devoted our general meeting to two issues that could potential change the face of development in Crow Hill: CHCA’s proposal for Landmark’s designation and the Crown Heights West rezoning proposal. We created a poll that was distributed at the meeting and on line. We had 29 poll responses returned from the meeting and 66 from the on-line version. The response was basically 75% in favor of rezoning and 80% in favor of landmarking. (View poll results.)
On May 9th CHCA presented at the CB8 meeting held to address the re-zoning and based on community feedback, we gave our support to the plan. We also felt it was important to speak to the comments and concerns that we heard voiced by the community, below is the full CHCA statement:
We would like to thank the Department of City Planning, Community Board 8 and Council Member Letitia James for the hard work that went into developing the rezoning proposal. Over the past month there have been a number of informational meetings throughout our community which have focused on educating residents about the proposed rezoning and we have conducted a poll in an attempt to take the pulse of people’s reaction to the plan.
We received 90 responses to our poll, 1/3rd were handed in at our Landmarks/Rezoning meeting in April and the remaining 2/3rds were answered through our website. The response was 75% in favor of the plan and Crow Hill would like to give our support to the rezoning proposed for Crown Heights West.
As well as taking a poll we did ask for comments from the community and we would like to take this opportunity to relay the concerns that were most frequently expressed. We know that the rezoning plan can not specifically address all aspects of these issues, but we feel that in order to present a full picture, they need to be mentioned.
One significant concern was with affordable housing. Even though the new zoning seeks to create the potential for increased affordable housing, will inclusionary housing as it is currently defined have the desired effect? People felt that the current guidelines set for “affordable housing” do not truly target families in need in our community.
And there was also concern that an 80/20% ratio of market value to affordable rents is not enough to offset the changing demographic of the neighborhood.
Another concern came out of looking at other communities where there has been an effort to create more affordable housing through up-zoning. There is a fear that the rezoning will increase the potential for development without any realistic expectation that more affordable housing will be created. Given precedents set elsewhere, it does not seem that developers feel there is enough of an incentive to take advantage of inclusionary housing.
There was also an across the board sentiment that the height allowances under the rezoning are too high and are not appropriate for our community.
We feel it is important to share this feedback and hopefully this will help to provide a framework for future action in our community to achieve a sustainable and appropriate ratio of affordable housing/market rate residences with an eye on keeping the human scale of our neighborhood.