Today’s Council vote to refer the Western Rail Yard rezoning plan to the City Planning Commission is a major victory for our community. This rezoning reflects years of conversations, outreach and input from community members. Soon, thousands of New Yorkers will have the opportunity for new affordable housing—the vast majority of which is permanent, new cultural spaces, and new green space.

A rezoning of this magnitude that unlocks an unprecedented amount of developmental potential would only be acceptable with a guaranteed affordable housing program. Today’s vote will ensure that over 20% of all residential units will be affordable and available to low, moderate, and middle income New Yorkers. The actions taken by the Council to ensure the allocations of funds by the Department of Environmental Protection to be used for the creation of new green space will greatly benefit our community which so desperately needs green space.

Additionally, we made significant progress in securing the commitment to develop 16,000 square feet of cultural space to be provided in multiple facilities; increasing the likelihood that existing neighborhood based organizations will be able to benefit from this space.

Adding these housing, cultural, and green space modifications to the plan translate into significant improvements for our community. I look forward to the day when we start on these projects and start to make the Western Rail Yard a new space for our neighborhood.

The community’s victories include the following:

· 20% of all residential units developed in the WRY rezoning will be affordable and available to low, moderate, and middle income New Yorkers

· Permanent family sized housing in City owned sites, including 50% 2 bedroom or larger units

· Allocation of funds to create new green space in Hells Kitchen by DEP

· Commitments from the Administration to achieve the community’s vision for the greening of Hell’s Kitchen, which includes planting of additional trees and the creation of green streets

· Commitments from LPC to create a timeline for review and study the Community Board’s proposed Hell’s Kitchen South historic district and several individual landmarks

· A construction task force that will include any subcontractors of the Developer to resolve any community raised quality of life issues

· Incorporating the Department of Parks and Recreation on the Open Space Governance Board, which will include representatives from the developer as well as the community and will be tasked with approving programming of the more than 5 acres of open space.