"No thanks."- Bronx councilman opposes rezoning study

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A city planning rezoning study could bring funding for parks and other improvements for a Bronx district, but some neighbors are asking at what cost.

Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr. is saying "no thanks" to a Southern Boulevard city rezoning study. "If this comes to a vote, I will turn it down," said Salamanca Jr.

For two years, the study by the Department of City Planning has been in the works to rezone portions of Salamanca's district. This includes Concourse Village, East Tremont, Hunts Point, Longwood, Melrose, Morrisania, Port Morris and West Farms.

The Bronx councilman made his opposition known Wednesday. He says a big drawback to the rezoning change is the threat of gentrification.

Rezoning, he says would allow for taller residential buildings as high as 18-stories. Salamanca is concerned that a lot of the development would take place on privately owned lots.

This would potentially mean higher rents. Salamanca says this is a risk he is not willing to take.

Community leaders also weighed in on the issue. Salamanca says there are some positive aspects attached to the rezoning, like funding that would help improve the quality of life within the district.

He says he plans to add those recommendations to the improvements he has already implemented in his district. "I take those recommendations and see if I can do them while I'm still in office," said Salamanca.

The Department of City Planning responded in a statement saying,"We strongly disagree with claims that adding mixed-income housing to neighborhoods displaces lower-income residents of color. Data-based reports show otherwise – that more housing, including affordable housing, helps relieve the housing crunch and rent pressures."

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