It is a thumbs down for upzoning.
Borough President Adams, Council members, and community board leaders voted against two zoning changes Mayor DeBlasio is pushing as part a plan to increase the city’s housing stock and lower New Yorkers’ rents at a Borough Board meeting on Tuesday night.
The panel’s vote is only advisory, but adds to a growing chorus of opposition to the plans — the Manhattan, Queens, and Bronx borough boards have already rejected the proposals, along with the majority of Brooklyn’s community boards.
It also gives the first insight into where the borough’s Council members might stand when they cast the deciding votes next year. Most Brooklyn pols kept mum on their opinion leading up to the board vote — seven did not show up at all — but a spokeswoman for one pol said her boss thought it was important to stand in solidarity with community members.
“I think it sends a strong message that the majority of the delegation is in unison,” said Jennifer Gutierrez, a spokeswoman for Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D–Williamsburg).
Seven of Brooklyn’s 16 Council members ultimately voted against the proposal — Reynoso, Laurie Cumbo (D–Clinton Hill), Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park), Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park), Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), Jumaane Williams (D–Canarsie), and Inez Barron (D–East New York).
The board voted 20–2 with two abstentions to reject the so-called “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” proposal — which would loosen building-size restrictions and parking requirements on new developments, especially those containing below-market-rate housing — and 20–1 with three abstentions against a second proposal that would require big housing developments on rezoned land to include so-called “affordable” units.
The two abstentions came from Robert Cornegy (D–Bedford-Stuyvesant) and Stephen Levin (D–Boerum Hill) — Cornegy because the two community boards in his district were divided, and Levin because he said he wanted more time and community feedback before making up his mind.
The board’s “no” votes came with a hodgepodge of recommendations to improve the plan — amongst others, retaining parking spaces in transit-starved nabes like Bensonhurst and Greenpoint, more incentives to prevent developers from turning senior housing into market-rate housing in the future, more protections against big buildings that will stick out in low-rise areas, and amending the mandatory below-market housing scheme to include smaller developments.
Coucil members Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), Rafael Espinal (D–Bushwick), Mathieu Eugene (D–Flatbush), Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), David Greenfield (D–Borough Park), Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), and Darlene Mealy (D–Brownsville) were no-shows.