KINGSTON – The vote to
rezone the parcel at 300 Flatbush Avenue in Kingston, the site sought
by RUPCO to build 57 residential, affordable housing units, resulted in
a 5-4 outcome from the city’s common council.
The long-awaited vote was held during the common council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night and although resulted in a majority vote by council to allow rezoning, pending a petition on behalf of contiguous residents to the parcel, a vote of 7-2, or more, in favor was required to carry out the resolution.
As the rezoning was necessary for the RUPCO project, it has been effectively squashed until further notice.
Kingston resident Michael Montella said he believes the decision was unfortunate, given that the property may remain vacant now.
“It’s in a very awkward location. RUPCO’s come up with a very creative idea that meets a very specific need for this city,” said Montella. “I’m really kind of disgusted that people are only concerned about what’s in their own interest, and not in the interest of the city at large. We’ve got a crisis in this city. It’s becoming unaffordable for many people to live here. Something needs to be done about that. This is only a small part of that picture.”
Common Council Minority Leader Debra Brown spoke on behalf of those opposed to the rezoning saying she believes the petitioning that ultimately set the stage for the rezoning defeat was justified.
“Nowhere in the beginning of this process were the people involved, and if they had been, I don’t think we’d be at this point,” said Brown. “This protest petition was the public’s final way to voice an opinion, but if they had started it off with an open discussion, I don’t think we’d be here like this.”
Some residents, and council members, believe the decision will result in legal action being taken against the city by RUPCO.
Common Council President James Noble said that is probably true.
“If you were the other side, you’d probably go to court and it will be up to the city to defend it. Everybody has that option, if they don’t like the decision that they can go to court.”
Although Noble said there is nothing definitive about legal action being brought against the city regarding the matter, he believes RUPCO has sent correspondence to city officials referencing “pursuing other legal means” and would not be surprised if they did, as the petition resulted in needing more than a majority vote for the rezoning to occur.