Two major rezoning initiatives are expected to arrive before Community Board 6 a bit sooner than anticipated, officials said last week.
Both the rezoning of the Gowanus Canal area, as well as Carroll Gardens contextual rezoning will arrive some time in May, according to Richard Bashner, the chair of Community Board 6, which encompasses both neighborhoods.
“It’s very encouraging that they accelerated Carroll Garden’s contextual rezoning so that it [is reviewed] with the Gowanus,” said Bashner.
The hotly anticipated items have been discussed for some time, as some local residents have had to endure out-of-context developments as the building bubble grew swollen over the past few years.
In November, Amanda Burden, the director of the Department of City Planning (DCP), told Board 6 that Carroll Gardens is a “unique, historic neighborhood” that has been threatened by new buildings and enlargements that are out-of-scale with the surrounding low-rise context.”
“Now it is time for a comprehensive approach to frame future development in Carroll Gardens to ensure greater predictability to protect its scale and character,” Burden added.
At the time, she promised a public review for the proposal by June.
“It’s looking like we are heading for a May certification,” City Councilmember Bill de Blasio, said of the proposals.
“Suddenly, it’s not only possible, but ahead of schedule,” he told Board 6 at its Jan. 14 meeting. Adding sarcastically that it, “has nothing to do with the upcoming election,” where the incumbent mayor will now be seeking a third term.
Regarding the Gowanus, Burden said that City Planning worked “hand-in-hand with the community to develop a set of appropriate and sensitive land use recommendations that achieve the community’s goals, including creating much-needed open space at the canals edge, achieving affordable housing, and continuing the mixed-use nature of the area.”
Glenn Kelly, the co-chair of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association’s Land Use Committee, said City Planning initially said that the contextual rezoning “should be done” but “gave no commitment when they could get to it,”
Jennifer Torres, a City Planning spokesperson said her agency has always agreed that a study of Carroll Gardens made sense.
“In November, Com-missioner Burden announced at Community Board 6 that the department is committed to undertake a rezoning of the larger Carroll Gardens neighborhood, and the department is aiming to begin the public review process by this summer. The schedule has not changed,” she said.
Since 2002, Brooklyn has seen 15 rezonings have been adopted covering nearly 1400 blocks bringing zoning changes to neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Midwood, Homecrest and Sheepshead Bay.
Kelly said his group intends to get to DCP before a final plan for the Carroll Gardens rezoning is drafted.
“We’re concerned that leaving the zoning the way it is, that there are too many incentives to knock buildings down,” he told the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association at its January meeting.
The hope, he said, is to implement a 50-foot height limit in some parts of the neighborhood, and a 40-foot limit in others. The feeling is that Court Street is “fully built,” Kelly noted. And the fear is that ‘upzoning’ the street could make room for buildings standing 70 feet. “We don’t want that,” he said.
“We are hoping that they will treat Court Street like the rest of the neighborhood. We need to minimize the incentive to tear down any buildings on Court Street.”
The goal is to be proactive, and not wait for DCP, “to bring a finish product.”
The group, along with representatives from Coalition for Respectful Development (CORD) and the Union-Sackett Street Block Association plans to meet with City Planning on Jan. 23., Kelly said.