Citing threats of violence, Councilmember Velázquez to miss tonight’s CB10 Bruckner rezoning vote

Foodtown Bruckner April 19 CB10-13 Marjorie Velazquez
City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez, pictured at an April 19 meeting in Throggs Neck, will not attend Thursday’s Community Board 10 vote on the Bruckner Boulevard rezoning proposal.
Photo Aliya Schneider

City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez won’t be in attendance at tonight’s Community Board 10 vote on the controversial Bruckner Boulevard rezoning proposal after stating she had been the recipient of threats of violence.

Velázquez, a Throggs Neck Democrat, released a statement to the Bronx Times at approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday that she wouldn’t be attending the CB10 meeting after receiving “a number of threats made against me on several community forums.”

“My intention this evening was to attend the Community Board meeting and continue to listen to the community’s stance on the matter of the Bruckner development,” she said. “Out of concern for the well being of my fellow community members, and to avoid the distraction of those intent on division, I am choosing to submit this written testimony. I want the community to be able to engage and vote how they believe without the threats of violence espoused by others regarding my presence.”

Velázquez said she remains unsupportive of the project in her statement — she is not a member of the CB10 board.

At tonight’s meeting, the board is expected to hold a public hearing followed by a vote on the Bruckner Boulevard rezoning and subsequent large-scale development proposal that was first filed with the city Department of City Planning in late 2020.

The developer, Throggs Neck Associates LLC, is requesting zoning map and text amendments to redevelop four sites on Bruckner Boulevard, including the Super Foodtown grocery store at 2945-65 Bruckner Blvd. The project would bring 339 apartment units, 94 of which would be designated as affordable housing.

Three commercial and residential buildings are proposed for the eastern part of the project. One 8-story building would sit alongside Crosby Avenue where Super Foodtown is located, a property owned by Peter and Joe Bivona.

There would also be about 300 parking spaces across the four sites.

If approved, the project would undo efforts to slow growth in the area due to the 2004 Throggs Neck rezoning, which designated Community District 10 a Lower Density Growth Management Area.

But CB10 District Manger Matt Cruz previously told the Bronx Times that CB10 intends to protect its low-density zoning and called the project “a very uphill climb.”

CB10 doesn’t hold any land use authority meaning Thursday’s vote is merely an advisory opinion. Regardless of that outcome, the proposal will move through additional review stages in the borough president’s office, the city Planning Commission, the City Council and finally, the mayor’s office.

Velázquez’s influence could possibly make or break the proposal when it reaches the City Council — due to what is commonly referred to as council deference, where the council traditionally votes on land use matters along with the member whose district includes the rezoning proposal.

But Velázquez stressed in her written testimony that she wouldn’t back the project in its current construct, citing the need for any new development to address what she views as existing inequities.

“Due to the current lack of existing infrastructure such as acceptable school space, parking, public transportation, and other needs, I cannot support any project that doesn’t include remedies for those issues, she added. “I will reiterate that I do not support this proposal.”

Reach Christian Falcone at cfalcone@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-2541. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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