De Blasio Zoning Plan Unites Civic Groups in Opposition

November 18, 2016

BROOKLYN ­— Greenpoint resident Steve Chesler has spent many evenings lately attending community board meetings across the city.

He and other members of North Brooklyn’s Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park are trekking to East New York, the West Village, Flushing and beyond to urge board members to vote against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed zoning changes.

De Blasio insists the changes will help the city build 80,000 new units of affordable housing as well as preserve 120,000 affordable units over the next 10 years.

Greenpoint and Williamsburg are still waiting for roughly 30 acres of parkland promised them a decade ago as part of the Bloomberg administration’s rezoning of north Brooklyn’s waterfront.

Chesler’s group is sharing that story as a cautionary tale of how rezoning can spur development of pricey glass towers, but promises made to residents for new parks and other amenities go unkept.

“We’re taking time from our jobs and families and businesses to go to these meetings,” said Chesler, a website developer who moved to Greenpoint 15 years ago. “We’re saying to City Planning: ‘Fulfill your prior obligations, so people believe you. You’ve left Greenpoint lying in gentrification’s waste.’

“Ours was a working-class neighborhood, and now it’s unaffordable to most people.”

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Photo credit: DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

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