THROGGS NECK, The Bronx (PIX11) — Some residents of the Throggs Neck neighborhood say they were blindsided by their councilwoman, Marjorie Velazquez.

For months, they have been rallying against, calling the district office about and signing petitions to stop a so-called upzoning plan. It could allow buildings, some as high as eight stories, to be built in the residential community.

This week, during a City Council committee hearing, Velazquez chose to support the plan. The move sparked a protest outside of her district office.

“I am so upset because Ms. Velazquez came to our community and told us that she would be with us, stand with us. We got together. We have 10,000 signatures saying that we don’t want this development and yet she turned around and said yes. So we feel like she stabbed us in the back,” said longtime Throggs Neck resident Michelle Torrioni.

Velasquez’s support is an about-face on her previous stance on the plan, which would pave the way for taller structures along Bruckner Boulevard. The area has been characterized by privately owned one and two-family homes. Some residents say the flood-prone area is already overpopulated and needs upgrades to its infrastructure before more people move in. 

“We are talking about 350 families. What’s that going to be? 800 sinks, 800 toilet bowls, 1,200 showers? I mean, the infrastructure is just not there. Every time it rains, I’ve got to worry about my basement getting flooded,” said Tommie Messinn. 

“Betrayed simple word. Betrayed,” said George Havraneck, the rally organizer.

PIX11 reached out to Council Member Velazquez to ask why she had a change of heart. She declined to speak on camera but, in a statement, said:

I listened to the recommendations of community members and maintained my position on community engagement, securing more jobs and affordable housing for local residents…The developers made the necessary changes to address the community and my concerns, coming a long way in transforming this project.

Councilwoman Marjorie Velazquez

A similar sentiment was echoed by Mayor Eric Adams, who also supports the upzoning plan. Other council members are expected to follow suit.

Residents say they disagree with any implications that their opposition to the proposed affordable housing units is racially motivated. Throggs Neck has a higher number of white residents when compared to other neighborhoods in the Bronx.

“So no. The area is not racist at all it’s very multicultural and very welcoming. It has nothing to do with race. At the end of the day, it has to do with the area being overpopulated,” said Michelle Romero, a Latina who bought a home in the neighborhood seven years ago. 

Now that the upzoning plan got the green light in the committee phase, the full City Council will vote on the proposal. That could happen as early as Oct. 12.

The residents are considering legal action.