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Inwood Rezoning Case Can't Be Appealed, Upper Court Rules

The subway's 207th Street Station in Inwood, Manhattan

The years-long Inwood rezoning controversy has come to an end in the courts. 

The appellate branch of the New York State Supreme Court effectively finalized the land-use changes after it declined to hear community group Inwood Legal Defense Fund’s appeal of a July decision that restored the rezoning, Crain's New York Business reported

The rezoning allows for increased commercial and residential development in northern Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood. It is designed to create 1,600 affordable housing units, a new $15M performing arts center, a library and two new parks.

The future of the rezoning, first approved in 2018, was thrown into doubt last year after state Supreme Court Justice Verna Saunders sided with community members, ruling the city had not been diligent enough in assessing the environmental implications when approving the rezoning. An appellate court overruled that decision this summer. 

Proponents of the rezoning, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, said that it will increase equality in the city. 

“The approval of the Inwood neighborhood rezoning means a fairer, stronger future for a community that has experienced decades of disinvestment,” he said in an August 2018 statement. 

But community members who opposed the rezoning said the income levels for the affordable housing proposed isn't affordable for those who live in the neighborhood and that residents of color and business owners of color will be displaced when the rezoning goes through. The group called on the city to issue a report that examines the racial impact of the land-use changes.

“It’s common sense that the impact these changes have on our neighborhoods need to be studied,” Karla Fink, spokesperson for the Inwood Legal Defense Fund, told Bisnow this summer. “[The city] has continued to argue strenuously that they shouldn’t have to study the racial impact of the Inwood rezoning, and they refuse to study their previous predictions and the outcomes.”