Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crown Heights Assembly Press Release: Petition for Mandatory Exclusionary Zoning

From the folks at the Crown Heights Assembly. Petition available here.


Activists from the Crown Heights Assembly push the City Council to address neighborhood displacement.

Brooklyn, NY - In light of the neighborhood’s rapid gentrification and the Bloomberg administration’s proposal to upzone the Franklin Avenue corridor, the Crown Heights Assembly and over 700 residents of Crown Heights have signed a petition to demand the construction and preservation of housing for the working class in our neighborhood.

“The developer shouldn’t be able to decide whether to offer affordable housing in a neighborhood where tenants are struggling and living from paycheck to paycheck,” says Natherlene Bolden, a Crown Heights Assembly member and founder of a tenants union at 805 St. Marks Ave, where she has lived since 1979. “Our lives have now been put into the hands of developers who have no consideration for our roots and history in the neighborhood.”

In just two weeks, a Crown Heights Assembly (CHA) petition over the proposed rezoning has received over 500 signatures online and another 200 signatures in print. “The amount of interest in this petition demonstrates how incredibly important the issue of affordable housing is to the neighborhood,” says CHA member Elana Bulman.
Crown Heights saw the largest increase in rents in any Brooklyn neighborhood in 2011, with average rents going up 35.0% for studios, and 26.2% for one bedroom apartments. The Crown Heights Assembly launched a petition to City Councilmember Letitia James calling for working-class housing and stronger protections against tenant harassment in a rezoning that neighborhood activists say is likely to raise rents, lead to building demolitions, and result in increased pressure for long-term residents to move out of the neighborhood.

The proposed Crown Heights West Rezoning incorporates Inclusionary Zoning, a voluntary incentive for developers to designate 20% of the units as affordable for low- and moderate-income residents, in exchange for the right to build with more floor area. However, reports released last week by Councilmember Brad Lander’s Office and the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development found that just 2,769 affordable housing units were produced under the voluntary Inclusionary Zoning program between 2005 and 2013. This is less than 13% of the number of market-rate multifamily units built in Inclusionary Zoning “Designated Areas.”   In Brooklyn, outside of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning, only two projects have taken advantage of the inclusionary zoning incentive, for a total of just 86 affordable units.
CHA demands mandatory inclusionary zoning to achieve maximal housing for the poor and working class.  CHA rejects all development that results in displacement, and salutes Community Board 8 in calling for mandatory obligations on developers to build low- and moderate-income housing for the community.

The Crown Heights Assembly also calls for an Anti-Harassment Area, which would necessitate the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to investigate whether harassment occurred before a Department of Buildings permit is granted for a demolition or substantial modification, as was established in the Special Clinton District and Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezonings.

The Crown Heights Assembly is a people-power organization of long-term residents and newcomers founded during Occupy Wall Street, in late fall 2011.  CHA members attended all three public hearings on the rezoning to date and encouraged residents to submit written comments to Community Board 8, the Borough President, and the City Planning Commission.  To read the petition, visit:


  1. Yes! More exclusionary housing. I'm glad they're finally putting that program to good use.

  2. So basically they want to fix the affordability issue by putting more restrictions on housing development. Is it any wonder that we have such an affordability crisis in NYC? The proposed "solutions" all make the problem worse!

    If you want more affordable housing, you have to make housing more plentiful. In other words, you need more market-rate development, not less. You need upzonings, not downzonings.

  3. Because all the upzoning in Williamsburg has worked so well?