NEWEST NYC COUNCILMAN RAFAEL SALAMANCA JR. DISCUSSES PRIORITIES FOR BRONX DISTRICT

New York City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr., who worked as the district manager of Community Board 2 in the Bronx before winning his council seat in a February special election, said he pivoted and backed two zoning proposals his community board opposed because the measures were poorly explained to his community.

“The city, City Planning did a horrible job coming to the community boards and explaining to us what MIH and ZQA actually is and what it will do for our communities,” Salamanca said of two large zoning frameworks Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration ushered through the City Council, arguing they will require affordable apartments be included when zoning changes authorize larger residential projects and will lead to more residential and care options for seniors. “We were totally confused. We had no idea what was happening. All we knew was you’re going to take parking away.”

In an interview with City & State, Salamanca said he gained a better understanding of the zoning proposals after joining the council and meeting with the City Council Speaker’s office and the mayor’s office. He then shared what he gleaned with the district managers and chairmen of community boards in his district and got them all to sign off on the measures in a press release.

“We put out a press release, and I got statements from all of the community boards that I represent, stating that they are in favor of this project based on the information that I provided to them,” Salamanca said. “So I voted yes for this … And I took it upon myself to go back to every community board that I represent – something that I’ve been doing – I’ve been going back, and I’ve been explaining to them as to why I voted yes and gave them a true explanation of how this could work in our benefit.”

Salamanca also discussed his plans to move his district office to a more central location, priorities for New York City Housing Authority developments and focus on youth programming.