Some of the goals of ReZone Syracuse are to preserve and enhance the city’s existing land use patterns, the character of its neighborhoods and “ensure high-quality, attractive design” throughout the city.
A new zoning ordinance and map comes for the first time in more than 50 years, as the mayor said the city is growing.
“We need to have a modern, progressive zoning code that can accommodate that growth and ensure we have the right type of growth, the type of growth that ensures environmental sustainability, the type of growth that ensures affordable housing opportunities, that ensures proper density levels in the right places along our neighborhood, business corridors, in our, in our centers," said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.
The New York Civil Liberties Union does not support the plan. Members say it would be a “major setback for housing accessibility, further exacerbating gentrification, segregation and displacement."
“There's this push to do mixed-use, mixed-use mixed income housing, which is a great push. Right? We all want to live in walkable neighborhoods. However, if those protections don't include making sure that residents that currently live there still have access to those communities then they're exactly going to be pushed out," said Lanessa Owens-Chaplin, director of environmental Justice Project, NYCLU.
Regardless of the concerns, after several years of planning, the city's Common Council passed ReZone Syracuse on Friday.
“Inevitably, we weren't able to please everyone, but I think Council President Hudson really put it right. This is not a static document. You know, we don't intend to wait another 60-plus years to change our zoning again. We don't want to do it haphazardly, but we want to do it thoughtfully. And if we didn't get certain things right, we want to go through the appropriate process, do the right due diligence, engage with the community and make changes where they're needed," Walsh said.
“We're certainly going to keep all of our options open and continue to consider what else can be done to make sure that the residents are negative, are not negatively impacted by this," Owens-Chaplin said.
Mayor Ben Walsh thanks community members, and those involved in the planning process, for their help.
Syracuse’s very first zoning rule and regulations were adopted in 1922.