rezone is next
The City Council on Thursday approved a zoning initiative intended to
scale back much of Bensonhurst, a neighborhood that, like most of southwest
Brooklyn, has experienced an onslaught of new condominium development
over the past decade.
Praised this week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the 120-block zoning plan
came before the full council on June 23, putting to rest a breezy four-month
journey from certification to law that took only half the time a similar
initiative in Bay Ridge did.
“All in all it’s what we really wanted,” said Howard Feuer,
district manager of Community Board 11. “We knew there would be developers
that would try to come in and overdevelop Bensonhurst, and now that won’t
Feuer said that, far from over, he and others would now seek to complete
a second zoning plan for the remaining portions of Bensonhurst, which
Department of City Planning officials said was left out the first time
around in the interest of saving time. Redrafting the entire neighborhood
all at once, said City Planning spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff, would have
taken inspectors twice the time to survey.
Upon Bloomberg’s final approval, the plan will cover an area bounded
by Bay Parkway and 61st Street to the north, McDonald Avenue to the east,
Avenue U to the south and Stillwell Avenue to the west. The rezoning establishes
height limits where low-rise housing predominates while eliminating the
potential for uncharacteristically large medical storefronts and buildings
designed for mixed commercial and residential use.
While commercial corridors along portions of Bay Parkway, Kings Highway,
Highlawn Avenue and avenues O and T would flourish, three quarters of
the plan would safeguard detached and semi-detached housing by limiting
new development to 35 feet and under.
“This rezoning helps fulfill my promise to protect the city’s
primarily low-density neighborhoods by ensuring that new development does
not change the character of our neighborhoods,” the mayor said in
a prepared statement. “As a result, residents will know that my administration
hears their concerns about out-of-scale development in Bensonhurst and
is working hard to prevent it.”
But before moving forward with the remaining parts of Bensonhurst, City
Planning officials say they will likely move forward with plans to down-zone
Dyker Heights. Centered between Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge, the largely
one-, two- and three-family home neighborhood has attracted new interest
from condo developers warded off by zoning changes on either side.
Councilman Vincent Gentile said this week that plans to rezone Dyker Heights
could be certified by September or October. From there, the plan would
course through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, a roughly
seven-month process that requires hearings before and recommendations
by Community Board 10, Borough President Marty Markowitz, the City Planning
Commission and the City Council.
Kristin Guild, a City Planning representative in Brooklyn, said that planning
technicians began evaluating Dyker Heights in March and hope to complete
a survey of roughly 170 blocks.
Among other matters, the planners are studying “transit corridors
and building form,” she said.
Raynoff said that City Planning officials could return to Dyker Heights
as soon as early fall with a preliminary proposal, which is expected to
include the remaining areas of Community Board 10 that were not included
in the Bay Ridge plan. In other words, all of Dyker Heights, a neighborhood
bounded by 65th Street to the north, Shore Parkway to the south, 14th
Avenue to the east and Seventh Avenue to the west.
“The idea is it will include the rest of [CB10] that wasn’t
incorporated within Bay Ridge,” said Raynoff. “Our communities
have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly we can work, but I don’t
want to give an exact time for when it could be certified.”
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010