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Throggs Neck Zoning Debate Takes Center Stage at City Hall

Throggs Neck residents testify at Wednesday’s city council meeting. Elissa Castles for The Bronx Ink.

The debate over whether to rezone a section of Throggs Neck to make way for four new apartment buildings continued Wednesday afternoon at a city council committee meeting, with Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson stating her support for the project.

The Buckner Site Rezoning Proposal would create 349 new residential units, 168 reserved for low-income residents, spread across Bruckner Boulevard between Balcom and Crosby Avenues. 

“I have always been a champion of affordable housing. I always will. Because I believe it is the gateway to the middle class,” said Gibson, who joined the meeting by zoom. 

Nearly 200 people registered to speak at the meeting, with a mostly even divide for and against the proposed development.

“There’s no secret that this proposal has generated tremendous passions on both sides,” said council member Marjorie Velazquez. 

Throggs Neck Associates LLC, a developer, is seeking to rezone parts of the Throggs Neck neighborhood in order to build the four multi-story buildings. 

“It is not monstrous skyscrapers in the middle of a low-density residential neighborhood,” said Jaclyn Scarinci, an attorney representing the developer.  

“It is medium-density with a three-story, a five-story, and two eight-story buildings along a major commercial highway,” she added. 

Velazquez, who opposes the proposal, spent roughly 40 minutes questioning Scarinici and Sam LaMontanaro, the project’s engineer, focusing on the needs of her district. 

“This community is a union community. Has your team addressed the need for union labor in  any project that comes forward?” Velazquez asked.

Scarinici noted the project has committed to agreements with Laborers Local 79 and 32BJ SEIU, with members of both unions in attendance.

The project would create 475 new jobs according to the proposal.

Those who came forward to speak in support of the project pointed to the new jobs and affordable housing which could help alleviate the housing crisis New York is currently facing.

“Every neighborhood must say yes to more housing.” said Brendan Cheney, Director of Policy and Communications at New York Housing Conference.

Still, community members in Throggs Neck expressed their worries with the new builds. Many suggested the neighborhood suffers from overcrowding in schools, heavy traffic, and a crumbling infrastructure, believing the project would only exacerbate these issues.

“Please. Fix what you have before you build more,” said Michele Torrioni, a homeowner in Throggs Neck.

“Say no to this unnecessary rezone.” 

Those who opposed the rezoning were also passionate about keeping the neighborhood low-density in order to maintain the suburban-like allure of the community.

After nearly 6 hours of testimony, the meeting adjourned with a vote on the proposal not yet scheduled.

2 Responses to “Throggs Neck Zoning Debate Takes Center Stage at City Hall”

  1. avatar Desiree says:

    Thank you for offering a neutral update on this issue. I am a long-term home owner in Throggs Neck and have been disappointed by the many articles coming out that paint a very negative view of the community opposition. There is certainly an argument for more housing across NYC, but these particular parcels of land are centered within a low-density area that is already struggling with extreme traffic congestion, backed up sewage and significant school overcrowding. I was impressed by the viewpoints and perspectives of the hearing – particularly the view that this community often offers people a chance at home ownership, given the lower taxes compared with NJ and Westchester. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the properties developed with condos or multi-family dwellings with subsidies for purchase? Investment in a home can buoy generations to come.

  2. avatar Emily R. says:

    Six hours of testimony! Clearly a heated proposal.

    This is such a microcosmic example of what’s going on in neighborhoods across the City and cities across the US. Echoing another commenter, it’s nice to read reporting that offers both perspectives on (and what’s at stake for) these potential decisions.

    I grew up in Texas near an aquifer, and my neighborhood lost in city council to developers who built over one of its previously protected entrances. It was devastating. Yet, in my current neighborhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, we recently successfully opposed a developer’s proposition to build higher than neighboring buildings. Regardless of the pros and cons of proposals to build, I will forever be encouraged by the opportunity for residents to voice protection for their spaces — there’s hope for its impact.

    Enjoyed this article, and look forward to following along.


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