On Wednesday April 8, 2015 El Barrio Unite held a press conference and protest to call upon Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to take a stand against the proposed East River Plaza Residential expansion. The protest was attended by over 30 East Harlem residents and supporters of El Barrio Unite.
The event was held in response to the joint letter to City Planning Commissioner Chair Carl Weisbrod from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and 30 New York elected officials in regards to Mayor DeBlasio’s plan for affordable housing and rezoning in New York City. The letter expressed the elected officials’ concerns about up-zoning in contextual districts such as East Harlem, where community advocates have fought to build neighborhoods within a cohesive built environment. Further, the Inclusionary Housing program has limitations that does not provide for a reasonable amount of affordable housing while offering more profits to developers.
Of the 30 signers of the letter Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s signature was missing.
El Barrio Unite wrote a letter to the Councilwoman asking her why her signature was missing and why she, as the City Council Member representing East Harlem, did not share the same concerns as her colleagues.
Following the press conference, El Barrio Unite attended the Community Board 11 Land Use and Zoning committee meeting to discuss the East River Plaza Residential towers. Bob Anazagasti addressed the Board and talked about the requests for zoning changes on the proposal application. Bob called on the Community Board to vote against the changes in the application. The Community Board was impressed by El Barrio Unite’s presence and as the project unfolds they hope to keep an open dialogue with the public about the East River Plaza Residential Expansion.
Thank you to all that attended the protest!