Bushwick Residents were invited by CM Reyna to attend a September 3rd, 2013 Town Hall meeting at PS120 to inform & address the proposed Residential Development at Rheingold Properties. The attending Community response was clear and direct in it's articulation of local needs & concerns around the Read Proposal at Rheingold. Neighbors convened after the Town Hall and again voiced communal concern. A subsequent Planning Commission Public Hearing on the Rheingold Rezoning brought local neighbors together again in their expression of concern over land use in Our Bushwick. These neighbors again coalesced in opposition to the Rheingold Rezoning at the Community Board 4 public meeting.
The North West Bushwick Community Group was formed and began regular Monday Community Meetings in a variety of (mostly) Art & Music venues around Bushwick. The Group was diverse in backgrounds & views while strong & unified in articulations & support of communal needs. This powerful group organized quickly and efficiently and has begun productive communications with local Non-Profits & elected officials. NWB members spoke again in public forum at the City Council Public Hearing regarding the Rheingold Rezoning and voiced their opposition to the plan with an alternative vision for the Rezoning.
Early in it's formation, NWB was most specifically working on outreach around ways voices could be raised during the remainder of the Read Property ULURP at the former Rheingold Brewery Site. NWB's advocacy for community Involvement in the ULURP resulted in the Council Member Reyna's formation of the Rheingold Advisory Panel. NWB's communication with Read Properties through this panel directly informed negotiations. NWB is proud to have contributed to securing a more just plan for Bushwick as Read profits in Our newly rezoned Community.
NWB's involvement in the Rheingold Advisory Panel process has enriched Bushwick with housing & land-use knowledge; a valuable resource as we prepare for future ULURPS. This rezoning process and resulting effects on housing, long term communities, vulnerable populations, local economies, infrastructure and our environment are of concern of NWB.
Press Release From CouncilWoman Diana Reyna's Office:
Press Release From CM Reyna:
RHEINGOLD REZONING RECEIVES CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL
Remaining land once owned by Rheingold Brewery in Bushwick, Brooklyn has been rezoned to include a mix of residential, commercial, and light manufacturing
BUSHWICK, BROOKLYN – December 11th, 2013 – A private ULURP application was approved yesterday by the City Council. Submitted by Read Property Group, owners of the remaining Rheingold Brewery properties, the ULURP proposal rezones six vacant blocks generally encompassed by Flushing and Bushwick Avenues in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
After several months of community engagement and deliberation, the application was voted out of the City Council Land Use committee and then approved by the full body yesterday afternoon. Read Property Group had previously secured approvals from Community Board 4, Borough President Markowitz, and the City Planning Commission during the application’s public review process.
“It is not without significant discussion and analysis that I moved to approve this rezoning. Few communities know the impact of unchecked development better than my own. However this rezoning, thanks to the ongoing collaboration of Read Property Group and community stakeholders, is a terrific example of development that is fair and accountable to the people. Over months of community meetings, Read has demonstrated that they are committed to responsible development, comprehensive planning, and community engagement. I am pleased to report that the Rheingold rezoning will provide my community with:
· Affordable housing that will make up 30% of the total market-rate units being built;
· The transfer of seven lots to a local non-profit for the development of affordable housing;
· Affordable units built by Read will be both integrated and permanently affordable at an average of 60% AMI;
· Local hiring for both construction and building maintenance;
· $75,000 to workforce development training for local construction jobs;
· A commitment to have 20% of construction contracts go to M/WBE and LBE firms;
· $360,000 to the neighboring elementary schools, P.S. 120 and P.S. 145, for computer lab upgrades and urban gardening initiatives;
· $350,000 for improvement to Green Central Knoll Park;
· The creation of over 17,000 sq. ft. in public green space;
· $250,000 to a legal non-profit providing tenant assistance in Bushwick;
· $150,000 for supportive services to the affordable units;
· $50,000 to assist with programming in a community facility to be located on the property;
· A commitment to not build a hotel on the manufacturing zoned land for fifteen years;
· The mapping of two additional streets;
· Commitments to provide community parking preferences and to mitigate truck traffic on residential streets, and;
· The creation of a community advisory panel to oversee the implementation of the above commitments.
I want to thank the robust coalition that formed to ensure our community would benefit from this land use action. I also thank Read Property Group for maintaining an honest and open dialogue throughout this process,” said Council Member Diana Reyna.
“Reaching the community goal of 30% affordability on the project was a high priority. Bridging the gap between the affordability proposed by Read group through the creation of Senior Housing on land transferred from the developer to the community is the first of its kind. This is a new type of solution that we are very excited about,” said Rob Solano Executive Director Churches United for Fair Housing.
"Once again, Councilmember Reyna is to be commended for bringing the community and developer together and guiding the community in the process to secure a commitment and a guarantee that will bring forth many opportunities for residents including local employment opportunities and much needed affordable housing for our most vulnerable our seniors,” said Jose Leon, Deputy Executive Director, St. Nicks Alliance.
“We acknowledge the great leadership of Council Member Diana Reyna in this historic moment. She will leave behind a legacy for the most needy, and the agreements that have been brokered establish a new template for private-public collaboration,” said Ramon Peguero, Executive Director of Southside United HDFC – Los Sures.
“We are happy with the outcome of the rezoning, especially the 30% affordable housing component,” said Nadine Whitted, District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 4.
“North West Bushwick Community Group is happy to have been an active voice and advocate for local community needs and concerns in the Read property ULURP application at Rheingold. We thank CM Reyna for her hard work and diligence in securing terms that meet many real local needs. While not all NWB terms were met we are happy for many of the mitigations Read has committed to as their massive residential development impacts our community. Through CM Reyna's creation of the Rheingold Advisory Panel and through NWBs involvement in this Panel process we have become a community of residents' richer in local land use and housing knowledge,” said Brigette Blood for the North West Bushwick Community Group
NWB STATEMENT at CB4 following ULURP approval at CC. Statement read by Brigette Blood.
> In an attempt to be a good neighbor I'd like to share some of what we learned during this ULURP. You may already know all this, many of us did not.
> An 11 year resident of Bushwick and a Member of North West Bushwick Community Group I am thankful for the rich understanding of development, public processes, and local needs I was privileged to gain through engagement in the Rheingold ULURP.
> This is a flawed public process that requires all of our sustained engagement. We hold that development and changes to our landscape must serve local residents and benefit the community first. The community's need, will and the environment should be primary considerations.
> The ULURP process is alienating for all. Even the most community minded of residents. It is my understanding that developers skillfully negotiate this alienating process to extract the most profit from the public's resources.
> This flawed process determines the future of our landscape, industry, our commons, and our quality of life while impacting the security & affordability of our housing stock. This process requires Community engagement throughout.
> We see a serious need for wider community education and engagement around these issues; especially amongst unaffiliated and non-institutionalized residents.
> After NWB held numerous public meetings on Rheingold, a workshop on developwment without displacement, and a memorable visit (here) to CB4, where we made a vocal outcry for Community inclusion in this Rheingold ULURP, an Advisory panel was formed and NWB was offered seats.
> NWB was able to rapidly pull from a larger network of concerned housing activists, educators, students, and neighbors to build our own capacity for understanding and engaging in ULURP.
> We implore our local government to empower local residents, build community agency and provide clear opportunity for impactful community participation.
> With much continued outreach and education around land use and housing we developed community-based and pragmatic alternative visions and proposals for land and development in Bushwick.
> Our NWB work prioritized binding assurances from the developer to deliver on negotiated terms and affordable units; we also sought to prioritize actual local need, the commons, industry and the environment.
> Ultimately, NWB generated proposals that went beyond the legal requirements of the developer. We see these alternative proposals as genuine mitigations of luxury impact. These community based proposals were largely marginalized in the ULURP process and final negotiations.
> We see this as symbolic of the failures of the ULURP process, which falsely present as community benefits or welcome upgrades the minimum legal requirements developers must provide in order to receive tax breaks and change our zoning.
> We, as a community, should ask ourselves what would it mean for us to benefit from large scale luxury development? and what does it mean to loose industrial space?
> Making bushwick safe for luxury development does not serves local need and threatens long standing communities.
> The community has every right to require more from the developer who needs our approval and who profits off our vulnerability. I urge you to continue to require more for Bushwick. Our community will be gravely altered and impacted. Our landscape and communities forever changed by this development.
> Some of us are more vulnerable than others in negotiating these changes and I hope Bushwick can prepare together and seek development and policy which make room for all those planning to stay.
> 30% affordable units still means 70% luxury units and the market forces that go with them. Not to mention that the affordable units are way out of reach for many of us.
> Creating market rate and above market rate development in low income neighborhoods brings with it many negative impacts for longstanding residents. This type of rezoning and luxury development must hold developers accountable to their true impact. Currently this ULURP process and this development fail us.
See VIDEOS & PRESS pages for more details on NWB work.