On August 2, 2018, the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises voted to modify the Inwood rezoning and the Committee on Land Use voted to refer such modifications to the City Planning Commission for a scope determination. The City Council voted to approve the modification on August 8, 2018.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has proposed the rezoning of most of the Inwood neighborhood north of Thayer Street to accomplish several goals: promote the development of thousands of affordable apartments; encourage economic development that benefits the local community; facilitate the development of open space along the Harlem River; and preserve community character west of 10th Avenue. To accomplish these goals the de Blasio administration, via EDC, has proposed a set of land use actions, described below. Additionally, the de Blasio administration has proposed major investments in the community, which are described below.

Inwood is represented by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents the 10th Council District. Council Member Rodriguez has been heavily involved in the planning process and has worked with the de Blasio administration to secure needed investment in the community and the Committee on Land Use to modify the proposal to address concerns raised during the public review process.

What investments is the City making in the neighborhood?

Council Member Rodriguez has been in regular discussions with community groups, local experts, academics, and City agencies to identify and advocate for the appropriate investments in the community, to address a broad range of needs. The priorities that have emerged from these discussions include significant investments in new affordable housing, preserving existing affordable housing, local small business development and support, local Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, efforts to get the local community involved in healthcare and technology careers, and investment in cultural facilities. Additionally, the Council Member has prioritized major investments in local open space, playing fields, and playgrounds. Notable investments and commitments are listed below:

Housing

  • The City will build 925 new affordable apartments on public land (Inwood Library, 4095 Ninth Ave, and Dyckman Houses).
    • The City will also begin the process of moving the DOT Bridge Repair facility to make the site available for affordable housing
    • The City will study the potential of the DSNY Community District 8 garage for consolidation of City facilities to make other land available for affordable housing
    • The City will work on an Educational Construction Fund development project on the IS 52 schoolyard on Vermilyea Avenue that would include housing and recreation space
  • The City will work to finance 1000 new affordable apartments on private land
  • There will be an estimate 675 additional affordable units created via Mandatory Inclusionary Housing
  • The City will work to preserve or protect at least 2,500 homes
  • Supporting Inwood tenants in 10034 and 10040 by providing access to free legal services to all low-income households facing eviction in Housing Court
  • Partners in Preservation will be launched in Inwood to protect rent-stabilized tenants, with $500,000 in City funding
  • Inwood tenants will continue to receive free legal services and support from the Tenant Support Unit, which since July 2015 has knocked on over 31,800 doors and assisted over 2,500 tenants in the area.
  • New Support for the Underserved (SUS) Homebase Office in Washington Heights
  • The Certification of No Harassment Program will be piloted in Inwood to discourage tenant harassment
  • Pilot a Landlord Ambassadors Program to provide technical assistance to Inwood property owners to promote affordable housing programs and help manage their properties
  • HPD is prioritizing the renovation of two vacant City-owned buildings at 2110 Amsterdam and 21 Arden Street, in partnership with Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) and the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC), respectively.

Culture

  • New immigration-oriented research and performing arts center with a total footprint of 15,000 square feet. The site shall include a performing arts space designed to allow for flexibility of programming and staging of performances in a variety of settings, as well as storage, dressing rooms, lobby, classroom, and rehearsal space. The center shall also include a space operated by the New York Public Library for members of the public and academics to research and discuss historical and contemporary materials related to the immigrant experience.
  • Technical assistance to Upper Manhattan cultural organizations, ensuring that leadership of these organizations have the skills and capacities to successfully meet the demands of running a performing art center

Economic Development and Workforce Development

  • New tech incubator and training center at 4095 Ninth Avenue directly modeled after what has been proposed for Union Square, which will offer the following:
    • Staffed Community Space available for education, training, and events focused on STEM and other high growth industries.
    • Entrepreneurship Services offering resources, support staff, equipment and tools for local individual users, groups and small businesses.
    • Programming delivered by training providers, industry partners and local institutions.
    • Cross Sector Partnerships and Industry Collaborations with academia, workforce and small business providers, employers and corporations.
  • New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH) will continue the City’s partnership with New York Presbyterian Hospital to develop healthcare training programs, prioritized for Washington Heights and Inwood residents, to access careers in healthcare. NYACH training programs will help New York Presbyterian fulfill its commitment to hire local residents from Washington Heights and Inwood.
  • NYCx Co-Lab in Inwood. Co- Labs combines technology piloting and education in high-need, high-opportunity neighborhoods by connecting local residents, government, academia, and tech entrepreneurs to identify, co-develop, and test innovative solutions that address the neighborhood’s most pressing needs.
  • Certificate programs for Safe Serve and Home Health Aide at the Activities, Culture, and Training (ACTS) Center in The Eliza development
  • Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) will provide capital to Inwood businesses. UMEZ offers capital access to qualifying small businesses in Upper Manhattan seeking term loans between $50,000 and $250,000 and Lines of Credit between $25,000 and $100,000. UMEZ will conduct outreach to Inwood area businesses.
  • Inwood pilot retail incentive program will also be formulated by UMEZ to assist, through convertible loans, certain existing Inwood retail small businesses that relocate within Community District 12 with the purpose of continuing to operate
  • HPD will require long-term commercial leases (minimum of 10 years with limited rental increases) for any mixed-use new construction project in the Inwood rezoning area receiving $2 million or more in HPD subsidy. The requirement will apply to the lesser of 5,000 square feet or 25 percent of the total non-residential floor area.

Education

  • New lnwood Library that will be 10% larger than the old one (20,000 sq. ft. v. 18,000 sq. ft.)
  • Pre-K for ALL in the Eliza (Inwood Library) development project. The facility will include three classrooms at a total of approximately 6,500 sq. ft.
  • Adult education such as high school equivalency, computer training, English as a second language, and CUNY classes, in partnership with CUNY in the Heights, at the ACTS Center in The Eliza
  • Rehabilitation of two pools in the George Washington High School campus. This investment would also make these pools accessible to the public during non-school hours
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) hub in the George Washington Educational Campus (GWEC) located in upper Manhattan:
    • SCA will upgrade facilities at GWEC for STEM, including existing outdated science labs, creating new lab workstations and upgrading space to make room for increased STEM programming
    • GWEC STEM Institute to prepare students to be ready for college matriculation in STEM fields
    • Work to develop college program in STEM field – DOE will study the feasibility of the development of a mechatronics-related Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) at a school in District 6, including potentially at GWHS campus.
    • Career & Technical Education (CTE) program at High School for Health Careers and Sciences that will include partnerships with healthcare institutions. Students will study a Certified Nurse Assistant curriculum and upon completion will be eligible for the Certified Nurse Aid licensing exam.
    • Other capital investments in GWEC including window replacements
  • Algebra for All will be rolled out district-wide – the program will reach all 20 middle schools in D6 by the 2019-20 school year.
  • Computer Science for All will be aggressively promoted with an estimated 30 additional District 6 schools in the program over the next three years.
  • STEM center at Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics with a focus on aviation and robotics. The new project will include an FAA approved aviation training simulator to make Gregorio Luperon a STEM hub
  • Teacher professional development in STEM fields, including participation in the biannual DOE STEM Institute.
  • NYC FIRST STEM Center will be part of the Inwood Library development project The center will offer hands-on, sustained STEM education and robotics competitions

Transportation

  • The City will improve priority intersections along 10th Avenue, focusing on providing better pedestrian crossings, simplifying complex intersections, and calming traffic. Intersections will include 10th Avenue at West 205th Street, West 207th Street, West 218th Street, as well as Dyckman Street and Nagle Avenue.
    • Improvements would take into account traffic impacts and could include:
      • reduced pedestrian crossing distances
      • new crosswalks
      • sidewalks
      • traffic signals
      • pedestrian
      • wayfinding
      • benches, and
      • street lighting
    • The City will also enhance the public realm and pedestrian safety under the elevated 1 Train to the Broadway Bridge, including new lighting, streetscape improvements, public realm activation at and column treatments.
  • Harlem River Drive Gateway – The City will reconstruct the intersection of Dyckman Street, 10th Avenue, and Harlem River Drive to provide a safer and more attractive connection between Highbridge Park and the Sherman Creek/Harlem River waterfront
  • Traffic Monitoring Plan – The City will fund a Traffic Monitoring Plan (TMP) for the next 15 years. By periodically monitoring traffic/pedestrian conditions in the neighborhood, the City will install traffic mitigation measures when/where needed
  • Improve Bus Service along the 207th Street Corridor – The City will examine potential enhancements to bus service along 207th Street including adding Transit Signal Priority (TSP), in which traffic lights communicate with buses as they are arriving at the intersection to either extend the green light so the bus may continue through the intersection, or turn the red light green a few seconds sooner. TSP typically improves bus speeds an average of 10 percent
  • Transportation Impact Mitigation – The environmental review identified potential transportation impacts throughout Inwood. As new development takes place, and subject to feasibility and the results of the Traffic Monitoring Plan, the City will install 13 new traffic signals at unsignalized intersections to mitigate traffic impacts. If practicable, the City will also install a corner bulb-out at 10th Avenue and West 206th Street to mitigate pedestrian impacts –

Water Management

  • Create a Drainage Plan for Inwood – The City will complete a comprehensive drainage plan for the Inwood area, which will map out tributary areas and existing water and sewer routes and infrastructure and conduct technical analysis to determine the necessary improvements to accommodate future growth. After approval, the Department of Environmental Protection will complete infrastructure projects to implement the plan
  • Water main and sanitary sewer replacement in northwestern Inwood. The City will continue to replace sanitary sewer and water mains in the northwestern portion of Inwood. The project includes distribution water main and sanitary sewer replacements in the area generally bounded by Park Terrace and West 214th and 218th Streets

Parks and Open Space

  • New two-acre waterfront City park on the former Academy Street east of 10th Avenue across the street from NYCHA’s Dyckman Houses
  • Restore the North Cove as an ecological resource and turn currently used for parking to become part of a new North Cove park.
  • Renovate of Monsignor Kett Playground including an intergenerational fitness area and new comfort station
  • Repair waterfront infrastructure along the Harlem River to address structural integrity of waterfront edge structures
  • Repair Hudson River waterfront amenities including Inwood Canoe Pier and Dyckman Street Fishing Pier and construction of new dock for cultural and excursion vessels
  • Renovate of Anne Loftus Playground with focus on water activities and basketball
  • Renovate Dyckman Rest to transform approximately 1.5 acres of unprogrammed and underutilized space into a gateway for Highbridge Park
  • Renovate Inwood Hill Park Soccer Field #1 (Dyckman Fields) including installation of new water service
  • Repair and reopen High Bridge Water Tower
  • Install adult fitness equipment in Inwood Hill Park

Historic Preservation

  • Park Terrace Historic District will be moved forward in calendaring process by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the first step in the designation process.

During the course of the years-long planning process the City made certain investments in the community, including a new Workforce 1 center, a Neighborhood 360 grant to the Washington Heights Business Improvement District to extend small business services to Inwood, a cultural capacity grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, a new legal services center at 5030 Broadway, and investments in Inwood parks.

How did the Council modify the land use actions in the proposal?

The Charter gives the Council the power to approve, modify, or disapprove certain land use actions contained within the proposal. However, any changes made by the City Council must be “within scope,” which means that any proposed changes have to be within the boundaries of what was publicly proposed during the public review process and what was studied in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The City Council modified the rezoning proposal in response to community concerns regarding small business and residential displacement within the Commercial U (Dyckman Street – Broadway – 207th Street) and removed the proposed upzoning in this area (with the exception of the Inwood Library block).

Here are the land use actions that were reviewed by the Council and how the Council is modifying them:

  • Proposed Zoning map amendment to allow for significantly more residential density. East of 10th Avenue and south of 208th Street in the “Sherman Creek” area, north of 207th Street along 10th Ave, and north of 218th Street in the “Tip of Manhattan” area this zoning change would allow significant residential development where it is not allowed today. West of 10th Avenue this zoning change would rezone the most of the old R7-2 districts, which do not have a height limit, to R7A, which has a height limit and a requires a contextual building. Along portions of Dyckman Street, Broadway, and 207th Street (the “Commercial U”), the proposal would increase residential and/or commercial density to promote mixed-use development that would require affordable housing. This plan also establishes mixed-use districts so that manufacturing and residential uses can be developed within the same zoning districts to facilitate the continued existence of businesses in the Sherman Creek area.
    • Council zoning map modification would remove the upzoning from most of the Commercial “U” and the Dyckman corridor west of Broadway. Additionally, change the proposed C4-4D zoning to a lower density C4-5D zoning for a block between 214th and 215th Streets.
  • Proposed Zoning Text Amendments and Council Zoning Text Modification
    • A Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area would be mapped in the portions of the rezoning area that would have significant increases in residential density. Such zoning would require the development of affordable housing for all new residential buildings above a certain minimum threshold.
      • The Council may select different options for complying with this zoning. As an example, a new building could comply with Option 1 (setting as 25% of housing at average of 60% AMI with 10% set aside for 40% AMI). See the Council page on Mandatory Inclusionary Housing for more information.
      • Council Modification: Map the Deep Affordability Option and MIH Option 1 (and remove Option 2) in the rezoning area for the deepest affordability possible under MIH. Also, the Council is removing the MIH Area from parcels that it is removing from the upzoning.
    • The Special Inwood District is proposed for areas that would be allowed increased residential density and would be likely to see new development. This is customized zoning that would modify the proposed zoning for the unique conditions found in Inwood. Council Modification: Remove the Inwood Special District in the Dyckman corridor west of Broadway where the zoning map change is being removed.
      • This zoning would require non-residential (and 50% commercial along parts of Dyckman and 207th Streets) ground floors for new development as well as transparent ground floor facades (i.e. glass storefronts) along commercial corridors. Additionally, certain commercial corridors would be protected from curb cuts, and banks would be limited to 25’ of frontage along the most vibrant commercial sections of Dyckman and 207th Streets.
        • Council Modification: Remove ground floor requirements and curb cut controls on parts of the Commercial “U” not being upzoned to comply with scope rules while retaining the 25’ frontage limit on banks.
      • New hotels would need a special permit, gyms would be as-of-right, and educational and health uses would be as-of-right in the Tip of Manhattan area.
      • Height limits would be relaxed by 20’ and minimum base heights would be lowered to 25’ near elevated rail lines to promote the movement of residential units away from the rail lines, and height limits would be relaxed by 10’ for parcels adjacent to existing buildings with windows near lot lines if developers allow additional space between the new building and those existing windows. Of note, these two provisions are not additive (i.e. 20’ is the maximum increase in height even if the parcel is both near a rail line and has adjacent lot-line windows).
        • Council Modification: The height increase would be based on the zoning district so that C4-4D/R8A and C6-2A can be built to 165’ while C4-5D can only be built to 135’. This represents a 20’ increase for each district. Additionally, the Council modification would allow new buildings in the Commercial “U” that utilize the contextual Quality Housing bulk rules to take advantage of the lot line window provisions, as this would protect the light and air of existing residents.
      • The development of waterfront open space would be promoted. Developers could move floor area off of certain waterfront parcels if publicly accessible open space is built. The zoning also would grant additional floor area if developers combine parcels and comply with waterfront open space requirements.
      • New buildings adjacent to subway stations would need to preserve a portion of the building for future subway entrances to facilitate access by the disabled and better subway access generally.
      • Reduce off-street parking requirements so that new buildings would only need to provide parking for 20% of residences. Underlying rules exempting affordable housing from parking would still apply. Mixed buildings would not need to provide parking for commercial or community facility uses.
        • Council Modification: In areas of the Commercial “U” that do not receive upzonings, developers would have to provide at least 20% affordable housing at no more than 60% of Area Median Income to receive the Special District (20%) parking requirement rather than the underlying (typically 50%) parking requirement. This can be fulfilled if developers use the deepest affordability option provided under 421a (Option A), which requires 10% at 40% AMI, 10% at 60% AMI, and 5% at 130% AMI. Buildings would need to adhere to the contextual Quality Housing bulk rules to receive the residential parking reduction. Also in this area, only new mixed buildings that use the Quality Housing bulk rules can receive the parking waiver for commercial or community facility uses.
    • A Waterfront Access Plan would be established to supplement standard waterfront zoning to require the construction of publicly-accessible walkways and open space along the Harlem River waterfront.
  • Urban Development Action Area designation and project approval to accomplish the following:
    • Allow the redevelopment of the Inwood Public Library and certain Department of Education land as a new building with 175 units of affordable housing, a pre-Kindergarten facility, a social services delivery center, and a new public library.
  • Acquisitions/Dispositions of City-owned land. Such actions would accomplish the following:
    • Facilitate the development of open space along the Harlem River, as some land could be disposed of to private developers provided it is developed as open space, and some land would be acquired by the City to be developed as open space.
    • Allow the City to engage in a land exchange to develop a mixed-use building with hundreds of units of affordable housing at the corner of 9th Avenue and 219th Street.
    • Allow the City to acquire the new Inwood Library.
    • Council Modification: Allow the City to acquire an approximately 20,000 square foot library rather than an approximately 18,000 square foot library given that the new library will be larger than the old one.
  • De-map certain streets to facilitate the creation of waterfront open space and a new parking facility for Con Edison, allowing the company to consolidate operations and free up land for new uses.

What is happening to the library?

As stated above, the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has proposed the redevelopment of the Inwood Public Library as a new mixed-use apartment building with 175 units of affordable housing, a pre-Kindergarten facility, a social services delivery center, and a new public library that would be 10% larger than the old library (20,000 square feet instead of 18,000 square feet). This project would take advantage of a $5 million grant from the Robin Hood Foundation to fund 50% of the new library space. HPD has awarded the project to a development team that includes the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH), a local not-for-profit community development organization. HPD will require the development team to provide a temporary space nearby for the Inwood Public Library during construction.

What other affordable housing is in the plan?

The Final Environmental Impact Statement estimates that ~3,900 new apartments would be built as a result of the plan, and 2600 (2/3rds) of these will be affordable.

In addition to the Inwood Library project, the City would engage in a land exchange east of 9th Avenue between 218th and 220th Streets. At present, the City owns the waterfront half of the land but does not have street access. The land swap with Charter Communications would give the City a parcel with street and waterfront access where it could build a new affordable housing building that could potentially include a community economic development component. This project could have more than 500 units of affordable housing.

On a site within NYCHA’s Dyckman Houses, NYCHA will engage with Dyckman residents on the planning of a new residential building and subsequent issuance of an RFP for the development of approximately 180 – 250 units of 100 percent affordable housing, in addition to space for community services. Such housing will include housing for seniors, subject to feedback from the Dyckman Houses residents and financing feasibility. There will be a 25% preference for NYCHA residents for all new affordable housing units, and NYCHA will encourage residents living in oversized homes in Dyckman Houses to apply for units in the new building, thus making new public housing units available.

Also, Maddd Equities has proposed developing the vacant lot at the northeast corner of 207thStreet and 9th Avenue as a mixed-use, 100% affordable building with approximately 600 apartments and a local retail component. Taconic has proposed redevelopment of the Pathmark site with 700 units of affordable housing.

Beyond these specific sites the proposed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing would require at least 25% of the new apartments be affordable at an average of 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) with a set-aside of 10% at 40% of AMI. The Deep Affordability Option was also applied, so that developers would satisfy zoning by providing 20% of housing at 40% of AMI.

Beyond the new affordable housing, the plan includes major commitments by City agencies to work aggressively to preserve rent-stabilized housing and protect rent-stabilized tenants in the community. This type of work involves increased outreach by the Tenant Support Unit, a pilot of the Certification of No Harassment program, enhanced tenant legal services, the Landlord Ambassadors Program to enroll existing buildings in affordable housing programs, and other commitments.

Community Board, Borough President, and City Planning Commission Feedback

Manhattan Community Board 12 Recommendation (March 2018)

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Recommendation (April 2018)

City Planning Commission Report (June 2018)

Environmental Review

Final Environmental Impact Statement

The City’s Land Use Review Process

Certain changes in land use require a public review process called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The ULURP process provides an opportunity for the public to consider the impact that land use changes, such as a rezoning, may have on the surrounding neighborhood and provide feedback. It also sets a mandated timeline for the local Community Board, Borough President, City Planning Commission and City Council to review, host hearings and vote on the proposed land use change.

Learn more about ULURP from the City Council and in this guide (PDF) from the Department of City Planning.