East Harlem’s Community Board 11 voted Tuesday night to oppose a city rezoning plan for the neighborhood during a heated meeting that featured no public vote, activists taking over the community board stage and a small fight.
The board voted 31 in favor, seven opposed and one abstaining on a resolution to oppose the Department of City Planning’s East Harlem plan with the conditions that the city adopt the recommendations of the community board’s rezoning task force as part of its rezoning plan.
“Unfortunately, the city’s current proposal to rezone a substantial portion of East Harlem utterly misses the mark… overall it thoroughly disregards the recommendations made by East Harlem stakeholders after years of multilateral planning in favor of a top-down approach that ignores East Harlem’s concerns,” read the board’s recommendation on the application. “For this reason, the City’s plan to rezone East Harlem must not pass without considerable revisions.”
La Shawn Henry, chair of the community board’s rezoning task force, said that the city’s plan did not embrace all the goals of the task force of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan. While acknowledging that the city’s plan addresses affordable housing creation, Henry said it would not preserve the existing neighborhood character.
The decision drew boos, hisses and chants of “sellout” from activists who pushed for a “firm no” — with no added conditions — to any proposal that would rezone East Harlem.
During a nearly two-hour public comment session activists slammed the rezoning plan as a “scam” promoting gentrification and displacement in East Harlem.
When Community Board 11 members asked Chair Diane Collier to clarify the board’s resolution, activists seized the opportunity to rush the stage during the confusion. Protesters shouted “no conditions” and “who’s board, our board,” which interrupted community board efforts at a roll call vote.
- More Than Two Sides to Talk About Potential Rezoning in East Harlem (citylimits.org)