Jerome Ave. Rezoning Approval by Bronx Board – with Provisos

The Bronx Borough Board met Nov. 27 to discuss the Jerome Avenue rezoning. (Photo by David Cruz via Norwood News)

The Bronx Borough Board approved the city’s Jerome Avenue rezoning plan on Nov. 27, reports Norwood News, but three council members, two of whom represent parts of the affected areas, abstained from the decision. What’s more, “some strings came attached to the massive plan, which looks to rezone 92 blocks of Jerome Avenue in hopes of ushering more affordable housing,” Norwood News said.

One of the council members who abstained, Vanessa Gibson, expressed how she took issue with the plan.

For Gibson, the proposal represents a watershed moment for these low-income neighborhoods, many of which fall within her 16th Council District. Development along the stretch has been patchy with many  apartment residences in subpar states.

Schools are also overcrowded. With School District 9 and 10 falling within the west Bronx severely overcrowded, Gibson called [on] the city to increase the number of school seats to prepare for the influx of new residents.

“We cannot accept more residents and families in this district if we do not address the unfunded seats that we have in School District 9, which is about 600 [seats], and School District 10, which is about 1800,” said Gibson, reading off prepared remarks. “We are projecting 2200 additional seats that are needed on top of the unfunded seats.”

The request for more school seats was just one of the stipulations attached to approval.

Other terms include ensuring subways are ADA-compliant, preserving 2,000 existing affordable housing units, building affordable apartment units with specific square footage, and building a community center in the neighborhood of Highbridge.

Also abstaining on the vote were Council members Fernando Cabrera and Ritchie Torres, who does not represent any part of the Jerome Avenue rezoning area. Go to Norwood News to find out why Torres, who is in the running for the City Council speaker seat, abstained.

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