Bill Would Require Racial Impact Analysis on Rezonings

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams intends to introduce legislation that would force a racial impact analysis as part of the city’s environmental impact statement of zoning changes. City-led rezonings have faced criticisms for targeting neighborhoods of color. “Rezonings have had a net effect of speeding up gentrification. If people are going to be gentrified out, that should be paid attention to and studied,” Williams said in a statement. The bill is also sponsored by Bronx City Council Member Rafael Salamanca.

The studies would examine both direct and indirect racial and ethnic impacts of proposed rezonings and major development projects. Analysis would also be required to indicate whether the proposed land use action “affirmatively furthers fair housing” as defined by the federal Fair Housing Act, which protects tenants from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home.

There has been a concerted effort by the City Council to increase scrutiny on neighborhood rezonings, with four other proposed bills that would mandate that city agencies study how previously enacted changes have impacted transportation, school capacity, and secondary displacement. Those findings would then be compared to the projected impacts predicted by the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) to evaluate their accuracy.