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Sunset Park pol: Delay Industry City rezoning by six months or I’ll vote it down

Six months or else: Industry City chief executive officer Andrew Kimball must refrain from moving forward with his rezoning proposal for the commerical site for six months, or Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca will vote against the scheme, the pol said.
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Sunset Park’s councilman will vote down Industry City bigwigs’ requested rezoning of the commercial site if the complex’s owners do not delay the scheme’s public-review process by six months, he said.

Councilman Carlos Menchaca — who holds an outsize influence on the rezoning because the waterfront campus sits in his district — said Industry City bigwigs still need to prove the proposed upzoning would actually benefit the community, before their request can begin its lengthy journey through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

“I’m not sure that a rezoning is at all necessary right now, and that the burden of proof is not on us as a community — the burden of proof is on the private developer to make the case for this rezoning,” Menchaca said at a March 13 meeting of local Community Board 7.

The pol delivered his ultimatum days after Industry City leaders agreed to delay the rezoning, and weeks after they first submitted the request to the Department of City Planning in February.

That decision to delay came after Menchaca and CB7 Chairman Cesar Zuniga fired off a missive to Industry City Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kimball, urging him to hold off on initiating the public review for the billion-dollar plan, which if approved would over the next decade add more than 25 football fields’ worth of space — including a pair of hotels with more than 400 rooms — to the 30 acres the site already occupies between 30th–36th streets and Second and Third avenues.

The local leaders’ letter alleged that the board is not yet ready to officially weigh in on the scheme — which requires the panel to hold a public meeting about the proposal, vote on it, and then submit a purely advisory written recommendation to the City Planning Commission within 60 days of the agency’s certification of the rezoning application as part of the Ulurp process — because its members are in the midst of addressing “concerns about displacement and gentrifica­tion,” matters that would prevent them from voting on the rezoning within the required time frame.

Two days after Menchaca and Zuniga sent their letter to Kimball on March 6, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Sunset Park), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–Red Hook), and state Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D–Crown Heights), sent their own missive to Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago on March 8, which echoed the demands of the councilman and CB7 leader. And later that day, Kimball and his fellow executives agreed to postpone the process, but did not say for how long.

Menchaca and CB7 leaders will use the six-month delay the pol demanded to hold five town halls on the proposal, during which they intend to:

• Review the findings from last summer’s series of board-sponsored town halls on waterfront development.

• Share the results of in-progress “community-based needs assessments” being conducted by academics from NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, Wagner College, and Hunter College, who are respectively studying health indicators, affordable housing, and education and employment indicators in the community.

• Study the city’s rezoning process in-depth with two urban planning experts.

• Evaluate the lessons learned from other ongoing rezoning efforts in Bushwick and Gowanus.

• Review Menchaca’s own findings from the rezoning process.

The local leaders hope to conduct all five town halls by the end of the summer, and then begin a ten-week review period that would include three full-board meetings of CB7, and three more public hearings, before the civic gurus ultimately vote on the rezoning request in November.

And until then, Menchaca and Zuniga also want the board’s five individual committees to review specific parts of the rezoning application, and how it will affect local housing, economic development and employment, the environment, transportation and safety, and health and education.

Zuniga added that CB7 members may hire outside legal counsel to help the panel through the process. And he said that even though the proposed timeline may seem lengthy to some, it should allow for enough time to consider the issues that most concern community members — which the public review’s official 60-day process would not provide enough time for, he claimed.

“We heard very clearly that the community has grave concerns about affordability and about housing … but the system is rigged — the Ulurp process is meant to speed everything along, so that there is no time for us to have these kinds of conversations and to think long-term,” Zuniga said.

Industry City reps did not reply to inquiries about how long they plan to wait until beginning the rezoning’s public-review period, or when they planned to communicate their timeline to the community board and local pols. But a spokeswoman for the complex said that its heads would work with Menchaca to figure out how best to move forward in a way that would benefit locals.

“We look forward to working with Councilman Menchaca to further the common mission of creating economic opportunity for area residents,” Lisa Serbaniewicz said in a statement.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 3:19 pm, March 15, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Translation: we need more time to shake you down. If we approve it now, the bribes are done. Besides my constituents don’t really want to be working.
March 15, 3:18 pm
SL from Sunset says:
Why does the writer use the words scheme, big wigs, honchos? It makes her seems really unintelligent and not a credible news source. I’d recommend using the words proposal, executives, leaders, etc. additionally this article seems to just be reptitive day after day. Hi
March 15, 7:22 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Menchacha’s attitude is “this is our neighborhood; we own it and we don’t want white or wealthy interlopers moving here.” Complete nonsense from the dope of a City Councilman. Industry City provides jobs, and this plan will provide thousands more.
March 16, 7:27 am
Sonia from Sunset Park says:
I went to a couple of the community board meetings already held on this topic: a) why do they need more time? this has been in discussions for over a year ALREADY b) these hearings are a complete sham, more like show trials. the "anti" camp just yells over everyone and all their studies are completely unscientific - they all must reach the same conclusion that IC is bad. One of their "experts" was comparing IC to Atlantic Yards (even though IC has no stadium, absolutely 0 housing in its proposal and is entirely built on already privately owned land, no eminent domain) and somehow trying to tie them to the Trump administration. They went on to blame them for closure of sweatshops (as if that's a bad thing) a few miles away. Someone please save us in Sunset Park from menchaca and his puppets in the community board!!!
March 16, 8:39 am
FCB from Sunset says:
"Menchaca's own findings..." LOL He caters to and is controlled by the nimby's -uprose, neighbors helping neighbors, etc. they will tell him to show how terrible this plan is and he will fall in line. the man never stepped foot in sunset park until he was elected and now he is going to destroy one of the best projects that has ever come along for its residents. shameful.
March 16, 8:46 am
Jordan from Greenwood Heights says:
Please to our local politicians: don't let this opportunity go to waste! We live in this district, we vote, and we're depending on you to support these jobs and the rebirth of industrycity! how can we become a sustainable, affordable community when our neighbors can't find jobs in their own neighborhood?
March 16, 10:56 am
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Sue Manchacha, Uprose, and their other co-conspirators.
March 16, 12:58 pm
occasional from sunset park says:
Why bother with rezoning? As in what happened to the streets in industry city? Are they now private ? Are those no parking signs illegal? Lets stage a "park-in" and see!
March 17, 8:20 am
Jim from Flatbush says:
That man in the pic is kinda hot, I thought that was Carlos Menchaca until I googled, and was dissapointed. The hot guy should be able to do what he wants.
March 17, 7:08 pm
Jean from Bay Ridge says:
I am a wheelchair user and I find it difficult to get into and to get around in the buildings in Industry City. That is something to be improved. More ramps are needed as well as better signage (wayfinding), better indoor lighting, and low tables in all food establishments for wheelchair users.
March 18, 9:52 am
Ro from Park Slope says:
So, have they already agreed to wait six more months? Let's upgrade the whole Industry City area to become a real locals' destination, like the mix of "industry" and recreation available at Brooklyn Bridge Park: "Industry City Narrows Park." Want to keep traffic down (or at least slowed down)? Just renew the cobblestone streets, keeping the tracks on the street as well.
March 18, 10:07 am
Sam from Sunset Park says:
I know a few CB7 members - they support this industry city proposal but are intimidated by these protesters who shut everything down. very undemocratic and sad for the neighborhood. hopefully the brave ones start speaking up for sunset park
March 18, 10:27 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
It’s mob rule in Sunset Park on the issue, and the mob in question is composed of Uprose and their allies. They are determined to prevent improvements in the neighborhood unless they control the process, chose the “winners”, and presumably get their cut.
March 18, 3 pm
Mathematician from Brooklyn says:
Another article mentioned more retail space in this area. With retailers going bankrupt left and right and front yards full of Amazon boxes it's hard to understand this "need."
March 19, 3:35 pm

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