No Bushwick Rezoning
No Bushwick Rezoning
Bushwick has been a working class community for more than a century, home to Brooklyn's biggest breweries and manufacturing zones. Today it is one of the New York's biggest landing points for new immigrants from Latin America and Carribean. It is also a rapidly gentrifying community that is seeing some of the largest rent increases in the country. In order to deal with the issue of high rents pricing out local tenants from the area, in 2014 Brooklyn Community Board 4 started working on the Bushwick Community Plan. The plan, led by a Steering Committee made up of local nonprofits and New York Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal, requested a Bushwick rezoning to downzone side streets and build new "affordable" housing. Their plan was finally made public in September 2018 and passed along to the Department of City Planning (DCP) for vetting its feasibility. The plan returned back from DCP and was presented in April 2019 with critical changes from the community plan including but not limited to: weakening protections on current manufacturing areas and allowing for the building of 16-floor luxury towers along main streets such as Broadway and Myrtle Avenue and affordable housing at income ranges that are not affordable to large portions of the community today. Now, DCP is pushing for their plan to be approved as soon as December 2019, despite numerous objections from the community, the Steering Committee that helped create it and the Community Board that asked for the rezoning to begin with.
Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, a Bushwick based political art collective focusing on the impacts of displacement in communities across the city, has been clear in its opposition to the plan from the get go. Rezoning often in the name of "affordable" housing and economic development, do more harm than good in practice, acting as a crow bar that drives a wedge between communities and their homes. From Downtown Brooklyn to Williamsburg to Long Island City, rezonings create billions in real estate value that never seems to translate to community benefits for those already there. Rezonings incentivize tenant harassment and eviction and don't create much housing that local residents can afford. Yes, Bushwick is a community that needs more low-income housing, where tenants are already experiencing tremendous amounts of code violations and harassment because landlords are looking to cash in. But rezoning doesn't provide what our community needs and deserves. It is for that reason that we oppose the rezoning of our community before irreparable harm is done to our neighbors in the name of progress. We know many of the local nonprofits that have engaged in this process and our local council members stand to gain from political favors from the city, but we stand for the people. We demand that Community Board and Reynoso stop engaging with DCP, and to stop the rezoning of Bushwick. Please join us in fighting for a people-led plan that will keep us in our homes and in our community