For Immediate Release
August 21, 2017
Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli - (212) 720-3471
PUBLIC REVIEW BEGINS FOR LAND USE COMPONENT OF THE CITY’S JEROME AVENUE NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN
Community Has Long Sought City Attention to Revitalize the Corridor, Spur Economic Development and Improve Conditions for Residents
August 21, 2017 – A community flanking a Bronx elevated train line took a major step toward realizing a long-sought, comprehensive revitalization. The land use component of the City’s multi-faceted Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan, crafted through extensive engagement with numerous stakeholders, entered the formal public review process today, said City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago. The plan is expected to help unite residential neighborhoods and spur the creation of as many as 3,250 affordable homes in a 92-block area, a significant portion of which must be permanently affordable under the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program (MIH). The rezoning covers an approximately two-mile long stretch primarily along Jerome Avenue and its east-west commercial corridors in Bronx Community Districts 4, 5 and 7.
The City has already commenced numerous actions to benefit residents in the neighborhood, including rehabilitation and preservation of existing affordable housing, tenant assistance and code enforcement. The Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan will also support neighborhood enhancements such as new parkland, safer and more walkable streets and increased and more diverse area retail. The plan will also support small businesses, including automotive uses along this stretch.
“With new and preserved affordable housing, economic development opportunities and significant capital investments -- including in parks and more walkable streets -- the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan protects and revitalizes existing Bronx neighborhoods, including the tenants of rent-regulated housing, while recognizing the needs of many of the auto-shops that have thrived here for decades,” City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago said. “The plan paves the way for a dynamic future for residents and workers for generations to come.”
“Housing New York is about more than creating and preserving affordable housing, it is about investing in the future of neighborhoods. Through a comprehensive planning process that puts community priorities front and center, the City is looking to bring new opportunities for jobs, affordable housing, retail and community services to the Jerome Avenue area," said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “I want to thank our partners at DCP and across city government, as well as Council Members Cabrera and Gibson and our many elected leaders for working with us to ensure a vibrant Jerome Avenue anchored by affordability and opportunity that will serve generations to come.”
The plan looks comprehensively at several neighborhoods, including Highbridge, Concourse, Mt. Eden, Mt. Hope, University Heights and Fordham, which are home to roughly 300,000 residents. The zoning changes generally cover Jerome Avenue bounded by East 165th Street to the south and 184th street to the north; and also includes portions of Edward L. Grant Highway, East 170th Street, Mount Eden Avenue, Tremont Avenue, Burnside Avenue and East 183rd Street.
The plan is the result of three years of working with residents, local businesses, community partners, elected officials and numerous city agencies. Community organizations that were involved include the Davidson Community Center, Bronx Lebanon Hospital, New Settlement Housing, WHEDco, Highbridge Community Development Corporation, Mount Hope Housing Corporation, Yankasa and BronxWorks. DCP worked in close partnership with the local community boards, which had long advocated for the comprehensive planning study, sponsored numerous events, and even produced their own report before the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan was issued. At the request of the local Council Members, Vanessa Gibson and Fernando Cabrera, DCP participated in neighborhood events to increase awareness and discuss key elements of the plan. Materials were provided in English and Spanish, and translators frequently helped neighborhood residents and workers participate in workshops.
The Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan calls for rezoning portions of existing commercial areas for residential use, which is currently not permitted in much of the corridor. This rezoning would spur the creation of affordable units at a range of income levels, including permanently affordable housing through MIH. Out of the total number of new units spurred on by the land use changes for Jerome Ave., between 20 and 30 percent will be permanently affordable through MIH.
In addition, City anticipates that most affordable projects will require subsidy, which typically means housing development projects that are 100% affordable and provide for low-income and very-low-income tenants.
DCP will also work with the Dept. of Housing, Preservation and Development to prioritize the development of affordable housing on public land, and to continue to identify private sites for the creation of City-financed affordable housing developments.
Preservation of existing affordable housing is critical to keeping residents in place. Two-thirds of the units in the study area are rent-regulated. Since 2014, HPD has financed the preservation of more than 4,500 affordable units, as well as the construction of 1,500 new affordable units, in CDs 4 and 5.
The zoning changes are designed to open the door to new business, including a wider variety of retail and community services, as well as increased local job opportunities. Development spurred by the rezoning is expected to create nearly 1,000 permanent new jobs.
Throughout DCP’s three years of engagement and planning, concerns were raised about the future of auto-related businesses. Many of these auto shops have been in existence for decades and asked for opportunities to remain and expand in-place. To balance the multiple objectives of Jerome stakeholders, the plan would maintain the existing zoning in four key sections with particularly high concentrations of automotive uses on eight blocks both on and off Jerome Avenue.
What Will the Jerome Corridor Look Like?
The land use and zoning changes along Jerome Avenue will help transform the environment along the elevated rail. Special zoning provisions will carefully shape new development to maximize light and air to the streets and encourage well-designed buildings that complement the built character of the surrounding neighborhoods. Special zoning rules will shape where buildings can be built on a lot and where they must setback along the elevated train (El). This will foster the creation of affordable housing above businesses in a transit-rich area, while also providing plentiful light and air, and a more active sidewalk for pedestrians.
Quality of Life
Land use is just one of many components in the planning process. Although Jerome Avenue has suffered from years of disinvestment, in connection with the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan, the City is now focusing efforts to address the needs of residents along the corridor. From safety measures along the Grand Concourse to grants to enhance commercial corridors, investments are being made in the neighborhoods along Jerome Avenue to improve the quality of life for residents. More information is available in a recent update on City agency initiatives that launched as part of this comprehensive effort to improve the lives of residents.
Bronx Community Boards 4, 5 and 7 now have 60 days to review the Jerome Avenue Corridor zoning proposal, after which it will go to the Bronx Borough President and Borough Board, followed by the City Planning Commission and the City Council as part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). For additional details on the zoning proposal or the ULURP time table, please visit the DCP website.