THROGGS NECK, the Bronx (PIX11) — Residents of a Bronx neighborhood are continuing to resist New York City’s plan to change zoning rules, allowing the construction of big buildings there.
Not backing down, John Cerini said he is determined to keep Throggs Neck, where he was raised, lives and works, just the way it is.
“We’ve invested all of our life savings into this community. We love it the way it is,” said Cerini, who is the president of the Bronx Coalition Against Up Zoning.
The New York City Council decided unanimously last year to change zoning rules and allow the construction of eight-story buildings. Cerini and members of the Bronx Coalition Against Up Zoning are not ready to throw in the towel. They are suing the City Council in hopes of blocking the plan. They say that adding so many residents would cause overcrowded schools, bottleneck traffic and other burdens to the existing infrastructure.
“When you drive around this community, there are no buildings. These buildings that the developers are trying to shove down our throats are not going to conform to this community,” said Cerini.
The lawsuit is the latest resistance to the controversial plan, which sparked protests from residents. They were especially outraged after Council member Marjorie Velázquez, despite her previous opposition, threw her support behind it, falling in line with the Adams administration’s push for more affordable housing in the area.
“She betrayed us by not invoking deference. The bottom line is, we can’t have a collective body like that invoking police and overriding the wishes of the community to push an agenda,” said George Havraneck.
Havraneck is now the Republican challenger in the upcoming election for the district’s council seat. PIX11 News reached out to Velázquez but did not get a response.
The lawsuit claims that the city’s environmental impact studies are flawed. Opponents of the Bruckner up-zoning say a victory in court would mean that the city’s traffic and environmental studies would be deemed invalid. They say if they had to redo them in a post-pandemic world, the results would be much different.
“People were staying home. They were afraid to come out because they were quarantined, so their traffic studies are false. We want our slice of suburbia,” Cerini said.
The city has not yet responded to the lawsuit or to PIX11’s request for comment.