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ReZone Syracuse has final public hearing, likely to pass at June 20 meeting

About 40 residents spoke at the ReZone Syracuse Public Hearing on June 7, 2023.
Ava Pukatch
About 40 residents spoke at the ReZone Syracuse Public Hearing on June 7, 2023.

Years in the making, Syracuse's zoning laws will likely soon be refurbished creating more kinds of housing. About 40 people spoke at the last public hearing on ReZone Syracuse.

While several speakers said ReZone Syracuse is not a perfect plan, they say it's time to pass it because of the need for housing in the city.

Nicole Odom, of Housing Vision, said the housing stock in Syracuse is dismal saying housing is a social determinant of health.

"Your medical status, your financial stability, all of those things are contingent upon stabilized housing," Odom said. "I've been in human services for over ten years in this community. I know what homelessness looks like. Please come together, figure it out, whatever it takes because we are worth it. I believe in Syracuse, we're on the upswing. Let's get it together."

Councilor Chol Majok says it's time to update the legislation.

"We are choking," Majok said. "The community is choking due to a lack of affordable housing. We've got to do something now."

Some residents of LaFayette Road with single-family homes spoke in opposition of the zone plan's designation of their neighborhood which could allow additional apartment complexes. But, LaFayette Road Resident Gary Nastasi, who said he plans to live there the rest of his life, encouraged the potential ReZone has for that area.

"People would love to live in that area," Nastasi said. "I worked for the city for 25 years — I can't tell you how many people that work for the city that have to live in the city that would love to live up there. They've asked me for years to do something with that property so they could live in the city in a nice area. It makes nothing but sense to me."

The Common Council is set to vote on ReZone at its June 20 meeting — Councilor Pat Hogan said he'll be voting yes and is confident ReZone will pass.

"This city used to accommodate 240,000 people and now we have 147,000 people," Hogan said. "We have the space, we have the infrastructure and we're a welcoming community. I'm looking forward to the next few years."

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.