The rezoning of the Bronx’s Jerome Avenue appears to be moving forward: After the plan received backing from three community boards, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. came out in favor of the plan—provided the city agree to certain conditions, primarily concerning an increase in affordable housing.
“The plan for the future of Jerome Avenue represents tremendous transformative potential for the entire Bronx,” Diaz said in a statement. “Whatever we do, we must ensure that this rezoning works for everyone, especially the tenants who currently call the affected neighborhoods home.”
Public opinion certainly played a part in his conditional support; earlier this month, Diaz convened a meeting for local residents, during which most in attendance spoke in opposition of the rezoning, according to the testimony submitted by the BP’s office to the city. Previously, the project had been approved by Bronx Community Boards 4, 5, and 7, though none voted overwhelmingly in the plan’s favor.
Still, the Bronx Borough Board voted on Monday to approve the rezoning, paving the way for the project to continue through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
The city estimates that the rezoning, affecting a 92-block stretch along Jerome Avenue, will create about 4,000 new apartments, 1,500 of which will be affordable. But Diaz wants that number to rise to 2,000; he also wants the city to commit funds to improvements along Jerome Avenue, the creation of new schools, and to identify alternate locations for the automotive industry that will likely be displaced by this rezoning. For a full list of the BP’s recommendations check out his testimony on the project.
“The people of the Bronx are not opposed to improvements,” said Diaz. “In fact, we expect our fair share of community benefits. The residents who testified at my hearing last month asked for greater affordability, more significant tenant protections and assurances that this rezoning would work for everyone, including them.”
The project next heads to the City Planning Commission, followed by the City Council, where no doubt several other changes will be introduced.