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Hundreds are expected at Wednesday rally against Williamsburg waterfront rezoning

Williamsburg residents and political and community leaders are set to gather at Kent Avenue and North 8th Street at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, to mark the eighth anniversary of the city’s controversial rezoning of portions of the Williamsburg waterfront to condominium developers in what was, as organizers call it, “Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-zoning giveaway.”

The rally, organized by Mobilzation Against Displacement (MAD), lists as its main grievances: (1) the issue that “less than one-third of the promised 3,500 affordable [housing] units have been built, probably no more than 100 being truly affordable to most residents of our communities,” and (2) that rezoning has dramatically increased the displacement of long-term, lower income residents.”

Their stated goal is to finally get affordable housing and restored funding for neighborhood-based anti-displacement enforcement of existing tenant legal protections.

“These broken promises have resulted in a horrendous net loss of affordable housing for our residents resulting – among other things – in a 22 percent decrease in the Latino population of Williamsburg-Greenpoint,” said Councilmember Diana Reyna.

“This is totally unacceptable and the city and its incoming leaders must take immediate steps to reverse this horrible situation,” she added. “We must reverse the current mayor’s vision of “benign neglect” of working class and low income residents, and rezonings for the wealthy without inclusion of mandatory obligations for inclusion of a majority of truly affordable housing, and provisions must be made to enforce protection of existing Rent Stabilized tenants.”

Councilmember Stephen Levin agreed, noting that ‘affordable housing was promised by the city and hasn’t been delivered.  Open space was promised by the city and hasn’t been delivered.  Now, with further development occurring in North Brooklyn, it is more important than ever that we stand together and make sure that the city delivers for the community.”

Local organizations involved include Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, St. Nicks Alliance, North Brooklyn Development Corporation, Los Sures, Churches United for Fair Housing, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, and People’s Firehouse.

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