New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams opposed the Industry City rezoning application today in testimony for a hearing held by the New York City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. The controversial proposed rezoning has been met with opposition from community members, environmental organizations, and the local Council Member, among others. In his opposition, Public Advocate Williams cited their concerns and stressed that the potential risks of the project could outweigh the possibility of reward.
The Public Advocate discussed the failures of the rezoning process and necessary reforms, arguing that "For far too long, rezonings have not taken into consideration the views of communities of more color. Developers push through projects despite local community members' opposition and concerns. We need to change the process of rezonings, and ensure that residents have ample opportunities to be engaged, especially during the pandemic." He pointed to the need to pass his legislation mandating a racial impact study of any potential rezoning.
He also acknowledged the current financial situation facing the city, but argued that this project would not be a solution, saying "I am not convinced that rezoning will lead to these neighborhoods getting the assistance they need. The promised 20,000 jobs from the proposal, is just that, a promise-- it may not benefit everyone in the community. That worries me." He cited the Hudson Yards project as an example, noting that in that instance "the intended effect of stimulating our economy is yet to occur," and warning of a similar outcome with Industry City.
Public Advocate Williams' full statement can be downloaded here.