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El Barrio Residents Shut Down During 'Feedback' Meeting

By Gustavo Solis | January 6, 2016 5:37pm
 The rezoning steering committee is slowly unveiling their recommendations for East Harlem during community board meetings in January. They will host a large public meeting to go over the final recommendations at the end of the month.
The rezoning steering committee is slowly unveiling their recommendations for East Harlem during community board meetings in January. They will host a large public meeting to go over the final recommendations at the end of the month.
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DNAinfo/Gustavo Solis

EAST HARLEM — El Barrio residents were outraged when a public meeting on Tuesday designed to elicit feedback about the neighborhood's rezoning plan had no time for public response. 

Representatives from the rezoning Steering Committee unveiled their "Affordable Housing Preservation" recommendations publicly for the first time. The meeting was cut short during the Q&A portion because of a scheduling conflict. 

“It was advertised as a place for feedback and it ended up them just checking off boxes which is what most of the public meetings have felt like,” said Andrew Padilla, a local resident and filmmaker who has been critical of the committee's community input process.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito set up the Steering Committee to guide the mayor's proposed rezoning of East Harlem. Last year the committee hosted six public forums to gather input and then broke down in private subgroups to craft the recommendations.

"All these recommendations have only come out of six public meetings and a host of private meetings, which I find fascinating," Padilla said. 

Residents still have a couple of weeks to weigh in on the plan before the Steering Committee hosts a public meeting at the end of the month to present the final set of recommendations before finalizing them and passing them along to the Department of City Planning.

People can provide feedback online or by calling a number of participating agencies. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, the "Affordable Housing Preservation" presentation had not been uploaded to the Steering Committee's website but a copy of it is available through the Community Board.