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Jamaica Leader Joins City Planning Commission Amid Heated Rezoning Debate

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 20, 2015 7:26pm
 Hope Knight is Mayor de Blasio’s newest appointee to the City Planning Commission.
Hope Knight is Mayor de Blasio’s newest appointee to the City Planning Commission.
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George Arzt Communications

QUEENS — Hope Knight, the president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a local nonprofit that works to attract new investment to the neighborhood, has just joined the City Planning Commission, officials said.

“It is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the critical zoning issues that Mayor de Blasio has proposed to expand and protect affordability for all New Yorkers, and to guide development in a responsible and sustainable way,” said Knight, who was appointed by the mayor.

The CPC — which is composed of 13 members, seven of which, including the chair, are appointed by the mayor, while others are nominated by borough presidents and the Public Advocate — plays a crucial role in the planning process related to city land use and development.

After holding a public hearing earlier this week on Mayor Bill de Blasio's two rezoning proposals, the CPC is about to weigh in on the plans, which include changes like increased maximum building heights in exchange for including a percentage of affordable and senior housing units and would also force developers to create affordable housing if they take advantage of new zoning rules.

READ MORE: Here's What You Need To Know About the Mayor's Citywide Rezoning Plan

The CPC will soon make recommendations for modifications in the proposals — which have so far been overwhelmingly rejected by local community boards and some borough presidents — before they go to the City Council.

Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the mayor, said that Knight, who also served as the chief operating officer of UMEZ, a non-profit focused on revitalizing Upper Manhattan, seemed like a great fit.

“We undertook an exhaustive search to find someone with deep experience in neighborhood planning and who understands our communities,” Norvell said in an email. “We think Hope will be an outstanding commissioner.”

Knight will keep her position at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the non-profit said.