The City Council this week unanimously approved a rezoning plan for Carroll Gardens, a measure intended to preserve in perpetuity the neighborhood’s charming low-rise aesthetic.
The proposal, whose origins can be traced to the excesses of the last great building boom, was largely non-controversial. The Council passed the measure, 48-0.The rezoning, led by the Department of City Planning — seeks to protect the row house character of the neighborhood by introducing a contextual zoning district with height limits of 50 feet, and 70 feet where those heights already exist.
The Carroll Gardens rezoning, approved Oct. 28, was the 100th rezoning adopted during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s last two terms.“Many of the benefits of this ambitious planning agenda will be realized decades from now, but the department’s 100th re-zoning is a remarkable milestone,” Bloomberg said.
The rezoning was sponsored by Councilmember Bill de Blasio, who called the measure a “victory” made possible by “the many community organizations and activists who demanded that the voice of their neighborhood was heard.”
The Historic Districts Council, a citywide advocacy group heaped praise on the measure. “This rezoning is an important step in protecting the historic character and human scale of this wonderful neighborhood. Especially these days, when Downtown Brooklyn is increasingly at risk of becoming a forest of towering glass and steel, steps like this must to taken to preserve Brooklyn’s historic, low-scale neighborhoods. These communities have been homes for New Yorkers for over a hundred years and they deserve to be saved, so that they can continue to nurture future generations,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the group.
Borough President Marty Markowitz said the rezoning largely reflects the community’s desire for limiting building heights to fifty feet. “The rezoning will go a long way in achieving the community’s objective to preserve the unique ambience and character of the neighborhood,” he said.
The Carroll Gardens portion of the rezoning area is generally bounded by Degraw Street, Warren Street and Douglass Street to the north; Hoyt Street, Bond Street and Smith Street to the east; 3rd Street, 4th Street, 5th Street, Centre Street and Hamilton Avenue to the south; and Hicks Street to the west.
The Columbia Street portion of the rezoning area consists of approximately 14 blocks bounded by Warren Street to the north, a line between Columbia Street and Van Brunt Street to the west, Hicks Street to the east and Woodhull Street to the south.
The initiative will map contextual zoning designations, with height limits of 60 or 80 feet, along mixed used corridors of Court and Columbia Streets, as well as other densely built blocks, according to City Planning. The plan also seeks to reduce the depths of commercial districts to reflect existing development patterns and “preclude commercial intrusions into residential side streets.”