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Sherman Plaza Rezoning Bid Unanimously Shot Down by City Council Committee

By Carolina Pichardo | August 16, 2016 11:40am | Updated on August 16, 2016 3:25pm
 Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez announced Monday night – before a crowd of more than 100 residents – that he would not be supporting the Sherman Plaza application.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez announced Monday night – before a crowd of more than 100 residents – that he would not be supporting the Sherman Plaza application.
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DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

INWOOD — A City Council committee in charge of rezoning unanimously voted against the Sherman Plaza project Tuesday morning, a day after Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez announced he could not support the project due to community opposition.  

The application, which was the first individual project proposed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan, appeared before the City Council's Land Use Committee Tuesday morning. All 17 of the council members present, including  Rodriguez, "disapproved" of the bid, according to minutes on the City Council website

All 6 of the councilmembers present at a Tuesday meeting of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises also voted the proposal down.

Developers Washington Square Partners and Acadia, who own the Sherman Plaza site and had sought the increased height limits in exchange for a plan to include affordable housing in its development, said they were saddened to hear of the vote. 

"We are disappointed with the decision not to vote in favor of our application to rezone Sherman Plaza but want to thank Community Board 12, Borough President Brewer, the City Planning Commission and the Mayor for working with us over the last two years in support of the project," said Paul Travis, managing partner of Washington Square Partners.

The developers did not say whether they plan to move forward with the project with market-rate units under existing height limits, as is their right, or return to the drawing board to hash out a new plan.

The developers had sought a 23-story height cap, in exchange for 50 percent affordable housing, but settled on up to 17 stories maximum in which it would develop 175 affordable apartments.

But many in the neighborhood pushed back against the rezoning plan, fearing that lifting zoning restrictions would open up a precedent for future development.

Rodriguez spoke openly about his concerns about rejecting the developers' offer of affordable housing out of hand, citing the lack of affordable housing in the area. But as community outcry grew over concerns about displacement and the impact of gentrification on the community, he opted to oppose the rezoning bid, he said Monday night.

“We have not been able to get to a point where I feel it is in the community’s best interests to move this spot's rezoning forward,” Rodriguez said at a press conference in front of the Sherman Plaza site Monday night.

“Therefore, I tell you that, as of this moment, I will not be supporting the rezoning of Sherman Plaza.”


Rodriguez said he will continue to listen and gather feedback from residents as to how to preserve and protect the neighborhood.

Residents cheered as the councilman made the announcement, with some taking to Twitter to thank the him for “listening to the people of Inwood.”