E. Fordham Rd. rezoning hearings set

With a long stretch of Webster Ave. primed for development thanks to rezoning, city officials are ramping up similar efforts for a neighboring strip.

East Fordham Road, long considered the stepchild to its more bustling west end, will be the subject of several upcoming public hearings outlining the Department of City Planning’s rezoning campaign.

Under the proposal, twelve blocks will be rezoned between Bathgate Ave. and Southern Blvd., allocating space for more affordable housing, offices and businesses to complement the medical offices, gas stations and auto body shops already settled into that stretch of road along the Fordham/Belmont strip.

City officials intend to strike a balance between the nabe’s current and future look, grandfathering in established shops while boosting the economic upside.

“Everybody benefits,” said David Rose, owner of Automotive Realty Corp., a 65-year-old business with six lots falling within the rezoned territory.

The area has been largely viewed as underutilized, given its closeness the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, which officials argue are greatly impacted by the diminished foot traffic.

“A lot of the businesses had to move because the city took away their parking,” said Community Board 6 District Manager Ivine Galarza. “Then they came with the Select Bus Sevice to make it worse.”

Public Hearings

But before anything’s approved, officials have outlined seven areas that could pose a health hazard from the rezoning plan should it move forward.

They run from noise pollution to how much shadows are cast by any new buildings.

Officials plan on finding solutions that could ease those issues, with help from neighbors participating in the public hearings.

They want folks to stop by at One Fordham Plaza for a 10 a.m. meeting April 30.

Galarza will be attending, having waited months on any movement to this plan.

“We haven’t had a meeting about this for over a year,” said Galarza, who envisions a “cosmopolitan” makeover for the area housing Fordham University.

Galarza said she has sensed a shift in tone from the Bloomberg administration, now pushing for this plan with greater urgency.

“This leads me to think it’s going to go forward fast,” said Galarza.

Following the April meeting, CB6’s Planning Committee will hold a May 2nd public hearing at 6 p.m. on the rezoning effort, with planning officials expected to make a presentation, to be repeated at the board’s May 8th general meeting.

If CB6 votes in favor of the rezoning, it will then go through the lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), followed by a full vote by the City Council.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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