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Community advocates pressure Menchaca to reject Industry City rezoning

Fighting back: More than 100 Sunset Parkers gathered on Sept. 5 to pressure Councilman Menchaca to vote down Industry City’s rezoning plan, giving speeches against the potential redevelopment in Spanish and Chinese.
Brooklyn Paper
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More than a hundred disgruntled constituents gathered in front of Councilman Carlos Menchaca’s Fourth Avenue district office last Thursday to demand his support in preventing Industry City’s scheme to rezone the area and expand its already massive manufacturing complex.

If approved, the rezoning would pave the way for a billion dollar, 10-year renovation of Industry City, adding two hotels, department stores, and more than 25 football fields’ worth of space to the 30-acre complex, which activists fear will lead to sweeping gentrification, raising rents, displacing low-income residents, and crippling local businesses.

“We will not accept a developer-led rezoning so that we can clean hotel rooms for the rich until we are displaced,” said Colleen Peabody-Diez, who lives nearby Industry City. “We reject ULURP and will only support a community-based model to discuss any change in land use anywhere in our neighborho­od.”

Menchaca lingered in the back of the crowd during much of the protest, only briefly taking the microphone to thank the crowd and accept a petition with 2,400 signatures, before hopping on his bike and pedaling away, angering protesters who had wanted him to voice his opposition to the rezoning.

“What side are you on, Carlos? What side are you on?” the protestors chanted.

The protest came at the end of the six-month hiatus on the rezoning proposal, which Menchaca earned after vowing to vote down Industry City’s rezoning scheme if Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kimball didn’t hold off on submitting the application to the City Planning Commission in March.

Peabody-Diez implied that the scheme to expand reflected a desire to drive out the neighborhood’s East Asian and Latino populations. “How come they didn’t go to white communities?” she asked the crowd. “Why... a brown, immigrant community?”

Protesters also dismissed Kimball’s claims that the redevelopment will create thousands of jobs for locals and help neighborhood business, arguing that developers have delivered false promises to community activists before.

“This is not a wait and see situation,” said Gustavo Gordillo from the South Brooklyn Chapter of New York City Democratic Socialists. “Prove you are here for the many, not for the money!” he told Menchaca.

As the council member whose district encompasses the land affected by the rezoning application, Menchaca effectively controls how the city’s legislative body will vote on the matter, making his support key to the application’s success.

“The fate and the future of our waterfront is in Menchaca’s hands,” said Claudia Galicia, a member of a local political club.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 10:04 pm, September 9, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jose from Sunset Park says:
The ignorance and desire for ideological purity of the protesters is on full display. Rather than work with Industry City, which is committed to investing in the community, they seek to oppose IC at every turn. We want jobs in Sunset Park. Lots of jobs. Responsible development is the key. Industry City has been a huge creator of jobs in Sunset Park, and has proven that they are willing to work with the community. People like Peabody-Diez create nothing. Neighborhoods change and we have to manage that change; opposing all progress is the height of stupidity. I don’t want Sunset Park to be subjected to their ideological experiments.
Sept. 10, 6:11 am
Claudia from Sunset Park says:
YES TO INDUSTRY CITY! Jose hit it on the head. I live AND work in Sunset Park. The silent majority is for the rezoning. Activists from all over the place who I've never seen are all of the sudden pushing their agenda on my community. We want the rezoning - jobs, access, investment are all things we need and are grateful for!!! Councilmember Menchaca - PLEASE VOTE YES!
Sept. 10, 8:14 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Development of Industry City should not be coupled with displacement. However, this is the new reality of the city. The government will facilitate developer's windfall profit at the expense of the neighborhood, rezoning properties to make them valuable and asking less in return for the community. Sunset Park is for sale, from politican to developer, and I suspect there is nothing the community can do to stop it. And bye-the-way, all of Brooklyn, including more wealthy areas, are for sale for the same corrupt low price.
Sept. 10, 8:28 am
Eric from Sunset Park says:
I have lived in this neighborhood for 54 years(my entire life)and i support Industry City. This is a massive win for the community. I understand people are afraid of rising rents and cost of living, but the Industry City proposal calls for zero housing, only more jobs, business and economic activity. How is bringing thousands of jobs in all skill ranges bad for a low income neighborhood?? Our people need them and can now find them in their backyard.
Sept. 10, 8:44 am
concerned from Greenwood says:
I agree with Jose's comments above.
Sept. 10, 9:38 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
There is no gentrification in Sunset Park as there is no Starbucks.
Sept. 10, 9:56 am
Sunset Parker from Sunset Park says:
Carlos Menchaca, please vote YES on Industry City's rezoning. Enough with keeping Sunset Park down and not giving our residents a chance to grow within their community. These jobs are not only for the rich white hipsters- WE can have these job too! I live AND work at IC without a college degree in a company that allows me to grow. Don't believe THEIR hype that this is not for us. IT IS. Just because they're loud and the same faces scream and shout doesn't mean the rest of the community is against it too. We believe in Industry City- you should too.
Sept. 10, 9:56 am
Matt says:
Two percent of Sunset Park has spoken!
Sept. 10, 10:26 am
Maria from Sunset Park says:
Matt, that's because only the ignorant are loud. Reasonable and open minds aren't.
Sept. 10, 10:32 am
EH from greenwood heights says:
Some people just don't want things to change or improve. Industry City represents progress for local working people. I personally know four people from this neighborhood who get to walk to their jobs at IC and as a result support the local neighborhood by spending their money at local stores and restaurants. Not to mention, it's turned a delapidated stretch of 2nd and 3rd aves and made it safe and beautiful Vote Yes!
Sept. 10, 12:38 pm
Ryan from Greenwood says:
I fully support the rezoning of Industry City. This is an amazing opportunity to bring a modern economy to the neighborhood. This is not an economy of manual labor, this is an economy related to innovation and it will mean PROGRESS for those in the neighborhood who want to be involved. This is a unique opportunity for this community to move forward and it will be pay off for future generations! Please Carlos, let the community evolve!
Sept. 10, 5:39 pm
Alex from Sunset Park says:
Don't sell out to these activists who want to keep Sunset Park down! Vote yes for this project! Sunset Parkers want the jobs, a safe place to go with their families, and the oportunities! Gracias Concejal!!
Sept. 11, 11:31 am
Dennis from Prospect Heights says:
The "activists" are ignorant campus socialists who probably have trust funds so what do they care if IC creates thousands of new jobs? Their "job" is to protest anything that will make the community better and provide jobs to working class Brooklynites.
Sept. 11, 11:43 am
Dennis from Sughrue says:
It's really telling that these brats disparage the promise of hotel jobs at IC. They think working in a hotel is beneath contempt. Certainly it is beneath the dignity of these trust fund brats. But it is not beneath the dignity of thousands of New Yorkers with good-paying hotel jobs, many of whom belong to the hotel workers' union.
Sept. 11, 12:17 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
Because who needs jobs and ——. Just give us our welfare check, cause we owns dis block.
Sept. 11, 12:48 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
“How come they didn’t go to white communities?” she asked the crowd. “Why... a brown, immigrant community?” -- Maybe because the buildings are there? Growing up I had several friends whose mothers worked in sewing factories in Bush Terminal as it was known then. Bet they wouldn't approve of those jobs either. All of their families ended up buying homes -- one a building with a store and two apartments, the others two-family buildings. One of the women ended up as an office manager in Manhattan.
Sept. 11, 3:10 pm
Bixby Pfefferheisen says:
Too many radical socia list Latinos lately. Why do they hate our country?
Sept. 11, 10:10 pm
Peter from Sunset Park says:
More stores and hotels, woohoo! Cause we don't have enough of those in the city. lol. What some of you don't get is that the thousands of jobs the IC people keep talking about are crappy low pay service retail dead end jobs with 0 benefits. Perhaps we should look at Liberty Plaza down the street as an example of what's to come: A bunch of stores that no one goes to, the place is always deserted. Which reminds me: All this hoopla about Japan Village and how fabulous it was, and what for? A small Japanese market like dozens in the city, some ok to mediocre food court and that's all. Another great example of the wonders brought to you by IC, it's like these geniuses think people are gonna travel to Sunset from Manhattan to buy things they already have a few blocks from where they are. Stores? Hotels? How revolutionary! If that's what you want for your neighborhood, by all means rezone it!
Sept. 15, 12:55 pm

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