‘Inwood Action Plan’ Appraised

Some have criticized the lack of Spanish-language outreach. (Photo by Gregg McQueen via Manhattan Times)

New York City’s “Inwood Action Plan,” released on June 30, bills itself as “the first chapter of a conversation about the future of Inwood,” and judging by the various responses to it, there may be a few more chapters to be written.

Eight city agencies weighed in, following “community visioning” input, on plans for affordable housing, workforce development and other critical issues in Manhattan’s northeast neighborhood. While the plan is supported by Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and local coalitions such as Northern Manhattan Agenda (NMA), a number of community residents found fault with the plan, writes Gregg McQueen in Manhattan Times.

The development of the plan included input from the community about rezoning, and what is called “contextual rezoning,” aimed at limiting the height and bulk of new buildings in order to preserve the character of the neighborhood, has yet to be resolved to the satisfaction of some. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will present details of its contextual rezoning strategy at a meeting of Community Board 12 on July 13, Manhattan Times reports.

Graham Ciraulo, a member of advocacy group Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale, said his group had submitted requests to NYCEDC months earlier to extend the contextual rezoning area south of Dyckman Street to include Hillside Avenue, as well as Broadway and Nagle, the site of the since-scrapped Sherman Plaza development site.

“Stakeholders were quite clear in our request to the city for an expanded study area and contextual zoning,” said Ciraulo. “We asked for R7A contextual zoning west of 10th Avenue and that south of Dyckman be included and receive zoning protections. These requests have either been twisted to fit Mayor de Blasio’s agenda or simply ignored.”

And local resident Nancy Bruning, who said she’s attended numerous public meetings about the Inwood plan, cited “sneaky up zoning” that would permit the construction of “soulless high-rises that are only 30 percent affordable, if that. Inwood is already a gem, and hacking away at it via inappropriate rezoning will not increase its luster — it will destroy it.”

“While the plan presents some worthwhile actions especially regarding parks and tenant rights, it feels more like a steamroller in sheep’s clothing than a guide for a healthy future for Inwood,” Bruning remarked.

Others say the plan fails to address parks or needed infrastructure sufficiently. And some residents say there hasn’t been enough Spanish-language outreach about the plan. For more details on components of the Inwood Action Plan and neighborhood reaction, go to Manhattan Times.

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