New York City Council approves controversial plan for rezoning in Inwood

INWOOD, Manhattan (WABC) -- The New York City Council has approved a plan to rezone a 59-block section in Manhattan's Inwood section.

The rezoning will allow for larger, residential buildings in the neighborhood.

Many longtime Inwood residents expressed fear that the new plan will speed up gentrification and push out low-income residents.

Last week, eleven demonstrators camped out overnight in City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez's office in Washington Heights to protest the plan.

It calls for landscaped boulevards and high-rise, waterfront development in a place that has been home to middle-class and working class New Yorkers for well over 50 years.

Supporters insist it will preserve and create affordable housing, while clearing the way for market rate development.

"This rezoning is not about pushing tenants out," said Councilman Rodriguez. "This rezoning is about investing millions of dollars in preservation."

But many long-time residents are worried. Some of their neighbors have already been displaced in recent years. The re-zoning, they fear, will destroy the character of Inwood.

"I don't think the people here are going to survive this, I really don't believe that," said one resident.

The rezoning also calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to streets and parks across Inwood, the northernmost tip of Manhattan Island between the Hudson and Harlem Rivers.

"The approval of the Inwood neighborhood rezoning means a fairer, stronger future for a community that has experienced decades of disinvestment. It means affordability, security, and opportunity for residents and new immigrants alike," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I thank Councilmember Rodriguez for his partnership in creating a bold plan that will benefit the community for generations to come."

The rezoning is part of the mayor's plan to add 300,000 units of affordable housing across the city by 2026.

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