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Inwood rezoning will move forward with City Council approval

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The contested proposal to rezone the upper Manhattan neighborhood has been given the green light

A grassy law with a white suspension bridge in the background. NYC Parks

The City Council has voted to approve the De Blasio administration’s contested proposal to rezone parts of Inwood to make way for roughly 5,000 new apartments, including 1,300 new affordable units.

The approval didn’t come as much of a surprise. In late June, the City Planning Commission voted in favor of the city’s proposal and last week, the Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franhchises approved a modified version of the plan that omitted a central section of the proposed rezoning area, a u-shaped commercial corridor along Dyckman Street, Broadway, and West 207th Street.

During the heated Wednesday afternoon hearing, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez echoed his support for the rezoning, infuriating many of the local residents in attendance who held on to hopes that he would oppose the proposal.

“The Inwood rezoning plan will create, protect, and preserve over 5,000 affordable units in the short term; improve our parks, and strengthen our small businesses,” said Rodriguez. This prompted angry outbursts from the audience and chants from people urging him to “vote no.”

“Shame on you,” one attendee shouted at Rodriguez. “You’re supposed to be representing the community and you know you’re doing this for special interest. Tell us what exact jobs this will be creating for the people,” she continued.

Nevertheless, Rodriguez stated that he believed “that this rezoning was necessary in order to preserve our community as a working-class community.” The looming fear among Inwood residents of gentrification is already happening and creating more affordable housing, while boosting resources by transforming two Department of Transportation sites into permanently affordable housing developments and investing in neighborhood schools, might help offset the affects, countered Rodriguez.

“The approval of the Inwood neighborhood rezoning means a fairer, stronger future for a community that has experienced decades of disinvestment. It means affordability, security, and opportunity for residents and new immigrants alike,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “I thank Councilmember Rodriguez for his partnership in creating a bold plan that will benefit the community for generations to come.”