DCP proposes rezoning 57-block area

The Cromwell-Jerome Land Use and Zoning Map: study area boundaries are marked by dotted blue lines while the zoning districts are shown in thick black lines.
Photo courtesy of the Department of City Planning

The Department of City Planning has proposed transforming the intersection of Jerome and Cromwell avenues into a residential and retail corridor. The 57-block valley between Highbridge and the Grand Concourse would eventually be known as “Cromwell-Jerome.”

The project supports Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan that seeks to create 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade as well as approximately 194,000 construction jobs and nearly 7,200 permanent jobs.

“We’re actually very excited that the administration has taken an interest in our neighborhood,” said Jose Rodriguez, district manager of Community Board 4. “The area is definitely ready for retail and residential development.”

Currently, the neighborhood provides business for auto shops, parking lots, and self-storage facilities. Under the existing zoning, it allows for heavy commercial and light industrial uses, but not for residential development. Rodriguez explained the rezoning is beneficial to the area’s socioeconomic conditions which have become oversaturated by the lack of diverse businesses.

“It’s definitely about creating a new neighborhood with what we already have here,” said Rodriguez. “We’re hoping to create a vibrant neighborhood for families.”

The elevated IRT 4 train runs above the entire lenghth of Jerome Avenue contained in this DCP study

DCP and numerous city agencies are working with community stakeholders to address the needs and investment opportunities designed to foster the neighborhood’s long-term growth and sustainability. The study intends on seeking different means of promoting vitality ranging from affordable housing to job growth and training. The result, a plan for land use and zoning changes, moreover the application of a mandatory Inclusion Housing program in the area.

Carol Samol, Bronx director, DCP, expressed the following reasons behind the project in a statement.

“The community in Cromwell-Jerome has long recognized the neighborhood’s potential. The area studied by the Department of City Planning is well-served by mass transit and is surrounded by stable residential communities – some with thriving immigrant populations – strong retail corridors, and committed institutions, but the majority of the neighborhood’s housing stock was built before 1950, and the area has a low housing vacancy rate and lacks pedestrian amenities,” said Samol.

She added: “DCP intends for the study to reflect the community’s vision for the neighborhood, and the agency strives for shared ownership of the study’s goals and vision. We will work closely with the community to create a plan for land use and zoning changes and coordinated infrastructure investments that will use the area’s many assets to support the diverse needs of residents and businesses in the neighborhood.”

According to the 2010 Census, approximately 67,774 people live in 10452, the zip code encompassing the Cromwell-Jerome area. This fall, the agency has held a series of community meetings aimed at gaining residential input. The most recent was Tuesday, September 30.

When asked about the area’s automotive work force and local store owners’ futures, Rodriguez explained that their views on the rezoning project are welcome for discussion at the meetings and would “absolutely take their thoughts and opinions into account.”

The Cromwell-Jerome Planning Group, established for the study, along with DCP will conduct various events and activities aimed at community engagement such as walking tours, visioning sessions, surveys, small group discussions, and focus groups in the upcoming months. Details to follow. Community walking tours given by the DCP staff of the proposed rezoned strip are scheduled for Saturday, October 18 and Saturday, October 25 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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