East New York, including Cypress Hills, is in the process of being rezoned. Rezoning means that the laws and regulations about what kind of buildings can be built, and where, are going to change in our neighborhood. In several years, it is likely that Cypress Hills will look noticeably different than it does today, with taller buildings and more people.
In order to advocate for a fair and just rezoning process, CHLDC joined the Coalition for Community Advancement: Progress for Cypress Hills and East New York with other community and civic organizations, small businesses, houses of worship and local citizens. Since its founding in 2015, the Coalition has advocated tirelessly and mobilized the community to advocate for safe, affordable housing, tenant protections against displacement, living-wage jobs and better services to our community.
The Coalition authored a plan for East New York rezoning efforts during the beginning stages of the rezoning process. Read our solutions for housing, workforce development and resources that will truly match the needs of this community.
In April 2016, the NYC Council passed a rezone plan for the East New York community. We saw many victories for the neighborhood, including:
- The removal of Arlington Village from the rezone area so that the community has another opportunity to weigh in on plans for this pivotal site in another land use review process and another shot at getting truly affordable housing for this site;
- A $12 million small homes preservation fund to ensure that homeownership stays in reach for neighborhood residents;
- A scaling back of the rezone area to preserve manufacturing and small business sites and reduce the impact of market-rate units;
- Creation of a Workforce 1 Center so that East New York residents can earn a living wage;
- A commitment to set aside some of the new commercial spaces for discounted rates for local entrepreneurs; and
- Accountability and reporting measures aimed toward ensuring that these commitments are followed through on.
Despite these victories, we also saw some disappointments. The final approved version of the plan did not include the provisions for deeply affordable housing or the tenant and homeowner protections that we had hoped for. We remain concerned that community members, both renters and homeowners and especially seniors and those with the lowest incomes, are at risk of displacement in the coming years. The Coalition has remained active and strong, and our priorities in the coming years are to help neighborhood residents stay in their homes and make sure that our community receives the services that we have been promised.
The city has promised $267 million of investments in East New York as part of the rezoning plan.
The Coalition will make sure that city agencies follow through on commitments to our community. These commitments include:
- Creation of a Workforce 1 Center (expected in December 2016) that will provide East New Yorkers with job training and placement opportunities and includes Spanish-speaking staff
- Creation of 3,900 local jobs in construction, manufacturing, retail and other local industries
- An infusion of $17 million into the area’s Industrial Business Zone (IBZ)
- Creation of a new neighborhood school to open in 2020
We will continue to advocate for reforms and legislation that protect community residents from rising costs and help neighborhood residents stay in their homes.
The reforms we seek include:
- Creation of a “Cease and Desist” zone in Community Board 5 to protect homeowners from harassment from real estate speculators
- Flip Tax legislation to penalize speculators who purchase local property and sell it for high profit in a short time period, artificially driving up home prices in the neighborhood
- Deeper affordability levels on newly constructed housing
- Tenant protections
- Homeownership preservation
We will work with developers and HPD to create agreed-upon minimum standards around construction of new housing, including the creation of Community Benefits Agreements that provide for local hiring in construction, affordability and set-asides for below-market commercial rental space.
We will mobilize community members and work with Community Board 5 and Council members to push for Community Benefits Agreements, deep affordability, and participate in parcel ULURP’s that apply to smaller areas of the neighborhood up for development.
Community Education and Vision:
We will keep the community informed of rezoning developments and new resources coming to the community, such as the Workforce 1 Center and help with housing issues.
You can contact Julia Watt-Rosenfeld at CHLDC to learn more about our ongoing efforts in this area and get information about how you can continue to participate, and get updates by following the Coalition on Facebook by clicking here.
Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy
(917) 893-8801 x 205
2966 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11208