By Gregg McQueen
The legal battle over the city’s attempt to rezone Inwood is headed to the state’s highest court.
On Thursday morning, community stakeholders announced they would file a motion to appeal a recent decision by the New York State Supreme Court to uphold the rezoning.
The matter will now be handled by the New York Court of Appeals, the highest-ranking court in New York.
In a 5-0 ruling issued on July 23, a panel of Appellate Division judges reversed an earlier decision by Supreme Court Justice Verna Saunders to nullify the city’s rezoning plan, which was contested in a lawsuit by advocacy group Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale and other plaintiffs.
The suit contended that the city failed to properly study the rezoning’s impact on residents of color and minority-owned businesses, as well as other consequences.
Inwood Legal Action, a constituent group of Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale, voted unanimously on Wednesday evening to request an appeal of the July 23 decision.
Cheryl Pahaham, Co-Chair of Inwood Legal Action, said in a statement that the rezoning, approved by the City Council in August 2018, would cause widespread displacement of residents of color.
“The Inwood rezoning will displace Dominican, Black, Asian, and other Latino residents and small business owners, and we believe the City should have examined the racial impact of the Inwood rezoning, though it refused. We believe federal fair housing law requires the City to do so, despite its refusal,” said Pahaham. “We will continue to fight in court until we exhaust all avenues to force Mayor de Blasio to hear the people who live and work in Inwood, and to be true to his commitment to racial equality.”