BROOKLYN — The Bushwick of the future could have more affordable housing, a historic district on Bushwick Avenue, protected industrial neighborhoods and rules to keep towers from sprouting up in some areas.
A proposal to bring taller buildings with affordable housing on Myrtle Avenue, Broadway and Wyckoff Avenue, and put height-caps on mid-blocks was laid out over the weekend as part of the Bushwick Community Plan, a neighborhood-wide rezoning effort.
Organizers, including community activists, representatives of local nonprofits and members of the local community board, hosted a land-use summit Saturday that drew more than 200 Bushwick residents of all ages, some who'd been in the area for decades and others who'd just moved in.
"I live in Bushwick, I don't know who I displaced out of my apartment," said Sean Thomas, 34, a two-year resident of the neighborhood, who said he turned out on Saturday to better understand how he fuels gentrification and "not just get happy every time something opens."
Organizers will follow up Saturday's summit with an April 8 transportation and open space meeting, and another on economic development on May 11.
After those meetings, they'll draft a rezoning proposal, get more community feedback and by the fall, submit a plan to the city for a formal rezoning process, according to steering committee member and neighborhood activist Edwin Delgado.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is pushing rezoning in other neighborhoods, like East Harlem, East New York, Gowanus and along Jerome Avenue in The Bronx, the Bushwick community has been working on their own plan since 2013, following the controversial rezoning of Bushwick's former Rheingold Brewery site.
Councilman Rafael Espinal, who represents Bushwick and East New York, where he oversaw the city's first neighborhood rezoning approved last April, said that process was "totally different."
"I felt that a lot of that weight fell on my shoulders and I had to carry on the conversation of what the community needed," he said. "This is totally different. You're coming in early on and saying, 'This is what we do, this is what we want and this is how we move forward with that.'"
Delgado said they were excited about the turnout Saturday and hopes to keep the momentum going.
"It's crucial for this plan to be successful," Delgado said. "If we leave things the way they are it's just going to be a continuation of what's going on...It's sad."
"[I'm] losing my neighbors, on a personal level, I've experienced that. They just tell me, 'I can't afford it'."