Bushwick releases recommendations in community plan
by Benjamin Fang
Oct 03, 2018 | 2070 views | 0 0 comments | 101 101 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Neighborhood leaders in Bushwick unveiled their comprehensive community plan on September 22 as the area continues to undergo changes.

Created by a steering committee made up of elected officials, community board members, local organizations and residents, the plan outlines a framework for the responsible growth and preservation of the neighborhood.

The report issued nearly 190 recommendations on a variety of topics, including housing and zoning, open space, economic development and transportation.

“What started with a letter from the community board has grown into a comprehensive analysis of our greatest shared needs and a locally unprecedented coalition of community partners,” said Celestina Leon, district manager of Community Board 4. “Now it’s time for everyone in Bushwick to weigh in and decide what comes next.”

The process began in 2013, when the community board contacted council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal to request a study of the neighborhood.

That effort blossomed into creating the community plan, a process that involved 10 community meetings, four visioning town halls, five zoning workshops and three issues-based workshops.

According to the plan, the Department of City Planning (DCP) and Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) were involved until February.

The Bushwick Community Plan has been submitted to the city for review.

“In the coming months, I will continue to work closely with the community board and steering committee to prioritize the plan’s recommendations,” Reynoso said. “As out of context developments with no affordable housing go up on a daily basis, the city must act swiftly to implement this plan.”

“Whether constituents agree with the recommendations in this report or not,” Espinal added, “we need everyone at the table so this plan can truly reflect the needs and desires of the entire Bushwick community.”

Among the recommendations are not only the creation of new affordable and deeply affordable housing, but also measures to prevent displacement and protect tenants.

According to the report, since 2008, more than 5,000 new units have been built in Bushwick with no requirement for affordable housing. The development has led to out-of-character buildings, unprecedented harassment and rising rents, the report concludes.

Up to 7,000 more market-rate units could be built if no action is taken, according to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

The community plan also stats that 84 percent of Bushwick households rent. Fifty-one percent are rent-burdened, meaning they pay more than one-third of their income toward housing.

Only 16 percent of Bushwick residents own their homes.

“While city-led rezonings continue to fail, the Bushwick community is doing what it has always done –– taking the future of the neighborhood into its own hands,” said Alex Fennell, network director at Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH). “With real estate speculation and development ramping up, we are even more in need of the protections, initiatives and solutions outlined in the Bushwick Community Plan.”
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