The New York Court of Appeals recently rejected a community coalition’s attempt to block the rezoning of the Inwood neighborhood in New York City. The coalition, “Manhattan Is Not For Sale”, was originally successful in overturning the rezoning bid last December, when State Supreme court justice Verna Saunders agreed with the community group that the city should study the potential socioeconomic impacts that the rezoning could have on low-income households and minorities. However, her decision was overturned by a five judge panel in July of 2020 and affirmed again in November, effectively closing the case and giving the go-ahead for Inwood’s rezoning. (therealdeal.com, 2020)
Details of the rezoning include changing sections of Inwood—a northern Manhattan neighborhood—from manufacturing districts to mixed-use residential and commercial districts. The Sherman Creek area, for example, would be converted from a manufacturing and wholesale business district to a mixed-use residential and commercial district with building heights up to 295 feet. Upland Wedge, meanwhile, would be rezoned from an automotive repair commercial district into a residential district with ground floor commercial businesses, while in the “Commercial U” area between Dyckman St. and W 207 St., increases in floor area ratios (FAR) will allow for taller buildings. (Gothamist.com, 2020)
The rezoning comes as part of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning program, which seeks to create or preserve 4,100 units of affordable housing in the low-income neighborhood by 2032. (Gothamist.com, 2020)
Critics of the rezoning push have argued that the city’s Environmental Review Board disregarded the eventual displacement of black and Hispanic residents as rent prices increase with the proposed developments.