For the first time in 40 years, Ridgewood Queens may have one of its manufacturing areas rezoned for residential use.
At a packed Land Use committee meeting on Myrtle Avenue, Community Board 5 members heard from the public, contractors, developers and the owner of the lot. With about a block and a half being rezoned for the developers needs.
At the end of the meeting, the committee voted in favor of recommending the rezoning. Two days later, at a full CB5 board meeting at Christ The King high school, the rezoning proposal was approved. A city Planning Commission meeting on April 24, (10:30 at Borough Hall, 2nd floor) will be the next stop for the proposal.
Some residents, worried about the eyesore the property has become since City Brothers lost their license to operate their waste removal business from the site, are very much in favor of the development.
Arguing that prostitution combined with poor law enforcement have made the area a dangerous corridor that attracts crime, at the land use committee meeting they suggested that the new building would put an end to criminal activity on the street.
They further noted that the landlord has promised to make the apartments "rent stabilized."
At the land use CB5 meeting, several members of the development team suggested there was, "no plan B"---either a lie or misstatement easily proven by a check of the EAS application. (e.g.,the backup plan includes commercial space)
Other local residents, including Trinidad who lives down the block from the development and spoke against the rezoning at the committee meeting, are worried the pricetag attached to the apartments may push out current residents as other landlords bump up the price on their own properties. In fact, history has shown as property values increase, so do property taxes on smaller (non-subsidy-receiving) landlords, thus forcing them to bump up rents, whether they want to or not, on their own tenants simply to keep up with the bills.
The rezoning proposal now goes to a city Planning Commission meeting this Thursday, April 24. The rezoning has pitted several interests in the community in an ever-more-vocal rumble over how the Greater Ridgewood area (Bushwick, Ridgewood, Glendale) will be defined as the pressure of gentrification not only pushes out low and middle-income neighbors but also many of the job-creating manufacturing and medium-income commercial firms in the neighborhood. Further exacerbating the fight is the reality that the area is one of the last pockets for New York City's massive service worker population, many of whom work for a minimum wage that would price them out of housing like the one proposed for the site at 176 Woodward Avenue.
If you live in the neighborhood and have an opinion on this rezoning, you can contact City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who ultimately has the final say over whether the rezoning will be approved.