STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF IRONBOUND COMMUNITY CORPORATION
RE: PROPOSED MX-3 ZONING
(January 3, 2019 People’s Assembly Community Meeting)
ICC remains opposed to the proposed MX-3 Zoning ordinance, in particular to the increase height and density. While there are a variety of reasons for this opposition, including the concern that the current infrastructure does not support more intensive development, this statement focuses on the concern that this change will support the worse aspects of gentrification.
We have no doubt, nor does most of the literature and documented experiences, that increasing the number of market rate units in a neighborhood readily leads to higher rents overall in the same neighborhood. Through increased height and density, this ordinance enables more units to be built and, as we have seen from proposed and planned projects in this area, new developments will likely primarily consist of studio and one bedroom units, further intensifying development. Since the intended market rate for these units is clearly beyond the financial means of most Newark residents, these projects will gentrify and likely promote higher neighborhood rents and, therefore, displacement.
And, as we have said before, while MX-3 may initially gentrify Ironbound, other City neighborhoods may not be far behind. Together, we must stop this from the start.
There may be a mitigating factor that accompanies the proposed ordinance: all projects in MX-3 are covered by the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. However, this will only be mitigating if the mandated affordable units are built on site. If not, the worse aspects and outcomes of this ordinance will be realized:
Developers get a free ride to an enhanced profit margin and the neighborhood is left holding the bag of gentrification and displacement.
The City under Mayor Baraka has done a great job of promoting and supporting equitable revitalization, and ICC has been both appreciative of this and proud to have worked with the Mayor and his team on these initiatives. We intend to continue this work and collaboration. However, this ordinance does not meet the goals of ICC nor do we believe that it supports the Mayor’s laudable goal of “Equitable Development: No Gentrification.”
ICC will continue to promote Development without Displacement and strive to Always Uplift, Never Uproot.
Joseph Della Fave