Starting this month, Bushwick residents are invited to speak up about their concerns for neighborhood rezoning. Opinions will be heard during a series of meetings scheduled throughout the summer.
This crowd-sourced effort will be led by Councilman Antonio Reynoso (who originally discussed the rezoning during a January 2014 Community Board 4 meeting) and Councilman Rafael Espinal. The two are also partnering with local nonprofits to guide the process.
"The wave is coming, and I think that we could protect ourselves and prevent the gentrification—the displacement of the members of Bushwick—if we do a rezoning the same way they did it in Bed-Stuy," he said. Reynoso also added that rezoning was to hold precedent over development.
Much of Bushwick Avenue falls under R6 zoning, which allows buildings to be constructed ten stories or taller on large lots, accommodating for a higher density of residents. Bed-Stuy, however, has restrictions on building heights, keeping structures similar in size and appearance, while also thwarting developers who seek to build massive apartment buildings. The councilmen look to these sorts of restrictions as a guideline for the future of local development.
"Bushwick has its character and people want to see it preserved," says Councilman Espinal. "I think that community concerns will play a big role in this process." He believes that many neighborhoods have suffered from over-development and that the community had little to no input in the process. This is something he would like to avoid for Bushwick.
"We are in the preliminary stages right now," says Councilman Espinal. "We are talking about how we want the process to happen. We are meeting over the next few weeks, to discuss bringing in big non-profits or small organizations, and to reach out to the rest of the community and get them involved."
Dates for the public rezoning meetings have not yet been set.