A proposal to rezone 73 blocks of Jerome Avenue in The Bronx has passed the Land Use Committee, putting the plan another step closer to realization. The City Council will vote on the matter March 21st, where it is expected to pass. This comes as part of the Mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. If the rezoing is approved as expected, roughly 4,600 new apartments could be created, with 1,150 expected to be occupied as affordable housing.
The proposal has long been in the works, and has created with some in the community. While nearly 35,575 square feet of retail could result from the rezoning, it will also displace roughly 146,000 square feet of auto shops, warehouses, and garages, according to analysis from the Department of City Planning.
Melissa Grace, a spokesperson for City Hall, said of the project, “The Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan invests in communities that have never before gotten a fair shake. We’ll make major investments in protecting and building affordable housing, fixing streets, building new schools and improving parks.”
The administration predicts the market will allow for all housing in the neighborhood to be sold at affordable rates. They also predict that 40 percent of new housing developments will be locked as permanently affordable, combining the forces for MIH and City financing programs.
The city has also committed $189 million for parks and public spaces, including schools, unspecified transportation upgrades, and new bus light bulbs.
The map provided of the neighborhood shows the proposed zoning areas that might be applied. The R7A zoning would allow for the development of residential buildings with a height of 65 to 75 feet. R8A zoning allows for a residential building with a maximum FAR of 6.02, rising no higher than 120 feet. R9A zoning allows for a residential building with a maximum FAR of 7.52, capping off at 145 feet on wide streets, and 135 feet on narrow streets. C4-4D will apply to commercial buildings, allowing for a FAR of 4, and not requiring any parking spaces. It will also require that new projects maintain the street-wall continuity, and a congruent relationship with neighboring buildings.
The rezoning is expected to be different from the last two in The Bronx. YIMBY reported on this in 2015, when the plans for Jerome Avenue were first announced. One planner who works with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development pointed out that the last Two South Bronx areas rezoned in 2009, Lower Grand Concourse and River Avenue – 161st Street, have only seen one new residential project each. He added that the Jerome Avenue process could help since it involved the community more than City Planning had in the past.
In any case, the plans for Jerome Avenue appear ready to clear the final hurdles of red tape for implementation.