Column: Bruckner Boulevard rezoning proposal will alter the fabric of the community

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More than 10 years ago, Bronx Community Board No. 10 voted unanimously to make Throggs Neck, Country Club and Pelham Bay, a Lower Growth Management Area (LGMA). We championed LGMA because for too long developers dictated our communities’ character. Because of LGMA, development in Community Board No. 10 requires off-street parking spaces and there are parameters around the physical characteristics of the building and its height. The City of New York Department of City Planning (NYDCP) joined us in this effort. So much so, that the zoning we enjoy became law in 2007 under then-Mayor Bloomberg with the local leadership of then-City Councilman James Vacca and, your very own, Bronx Community Board  No. 10.

The community is now facing the Bruckner Boulevard Rezoning proposal, a development proposal that seeks to undo Vacca’s and this Community Board’s legacy; a proposal that will permanently alter the fabric of the Waterbury and LaSalle community.

The proposal creates density where there never was any. A rezoning proposal of this magnitude is poor planning. Nothing about our community’s infrastructure has changed since 2007. We still have minimal on-street parking. We still drive and sit through the same traffic. We still have long walks and long bus rides to the nearest train stations (the proposal, shockingly, mentions the BX5 as a reliable source of transportation when all our residents knows that the BX5 is one of the least reliable buses in our community).

The proposal outlines more than 100 parking spaces for its developments. However, these parking spaces are a ruse; no developer provides free parking to its tenants. As of right now, we do not know what type of housing is slated for Bruckner Boulevard; there will be affordable units, but at what price and how many has not been disclosed yet. Regrettably, we will see the end of the Foodtown supermarket on Crosby Avenue with this proposal. We will officially join many communities in the Bronx as a food desert. The Bruckner Boulevard Rezoning proposal, if approved, will only be the start as other property owners will band together to change the character of our beloved neighborhoods. Simply put, the proposal for this portion of Bruckner Boulevard undoes exactly what we fought to implement for decades.

I can state with full confidence that Bronx Community Board No. 10 is not opposed to development. We acknowledge that part of Bruckner Boulevard has had empty commercial storefronts for years. All our merchants’ associations, business improvement districts and commercial property owners know that Bronx Community Board No. 10 remains ready to find businesses to occupy vacant storefronts. However, such development cannot come at the expense of the community; development that falls within the guidelines of the LGMA will be welcomed.

Bronx Community Board #10 and its advisory vote is but one step in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process; that vote will come in our October or November meeting. I and our District Manager Matt Cruz will give the community ample notice to attend the public meetings as required by the ULURP. In the meantime, continue to voice your opinions to the offices of the Bronx borough president and city councilperson.

Be sure to join our email list by writing to us at bx10@cb.nyc.gov. Our Facebook username is @BronxCommunityBoard10. Our Twitter and Instagram username is @BronxCB10. If you have already contacted us in some manner, we thank you.

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