Upzone backfire! Board 7: Rezone for ‘affordable’ housing would have opposite effect

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They say they can see the unforeseen consequences.

The city’s plan to upzone Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace to encourage cheaper housing would actually have the opposite effect, according to members of Community Board 7, which voted not to support the proposal on Nov. 18. Critics blasted the so-called Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal, claiming it would backfire and give developers an incentive to knock down the areas’s existing cheap housing and replace it with pricier digs.

“All the things that they thought were benefits in our neighborhood are actually detriments to creating affordable housing,” said board member John Fontillas.

“We don’t build affordable housing in Sunset Park, we preserve it. It’s already existing, our pressure is that we’re losing it.”

Board members voted 26–2 with five abstentions against the plan, which would let developers to tack five feet onto just about any building and up to two stories on buildings along Sunset Park’s commercial corridors if they include a portion of senior or below-market-rate housing.

The city rezoned parts of Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace in 2009 under significant pressure from the community to protect the neighborhoods from developers who wanted to build up. Both proposals would threaten community members’ previous efforts to preserve low-rise and existing affordable housing in the district, another board member said.

“Even if its for a noble cause — the assumption here is that we want to zone to have more affordable housing — the reality is that it completely ignored what people fought for and the reason they fought for that and the character of some of these neighborho­ods,” said Randy Peers.

The board was split over a companion proposal called Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which would require developers in certain areas build affordable housing or pay into an affordable housing fund as part of any project that requires a rezoning.

The board’s committee voted against the plan and recommended the full board follow suit. The body voted 15–11 in favor with eight abstentions, but the results did not present a clear enough majority, and the motion died.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Know what might help staving off new developments? Voting against Brad Lander's efforts to keep Cobble Hill less dense. When you can't build in Cobble Hill, you move to Sunset Park.
Nov. 20, 2015, 3:47 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Ride the D line to the end and you'll see many underbuilt areas. Why do these developers want to cram more people into already over crowded Sunset Park?
Nov. 20, 2015, 7:45 am
marsha rimler from brooklyn says:
i suggest the local councilman and congresswowoman valasquez take note of the community reaction to unaffordable housing. Carlos needs to rethink his support of the BPL libary destruction plan and Nydia who is still so so silent needs to speak out. She needs to help our local officals figure a way out of the library problem. Her rep. Daniel Wiley sat in on the library meetings for years. Why not see if the feds can guarantee the bonds the BPL needs to
sell. They do it with private companies. then we can work on repayment. Mayble 25% from fundraising, 25% from local, state and federal govts.We need some our of the box thinking here.
Nov. 20, 2015, 10:08 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Well, Me, it's because people prefer to live closer to job centers. Sunset Park is closer than the end of the D line.
Nov. 20, 2015, 11:48 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Well Mike, if you think most people prefer poor, overcrowded, dirty Sunset Park over leafy suburban feeling middle-class Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst or Bath Beach I think you are very unfamiliar with southern Brooklyn.
Nov. 20, 2015, 8:05 pm
Victor from CB7 says:
What does the purple indicate on the map?
Nov. 21, 2015, 2:54 am
no more overpopulation from Brooklyn says:
No more upzoning anywhere in this god forsaken city. It is already overpopulated and under served. Improve the quality of life for New Yorkers that are already here rather than making it worse buy loading us up with more people that are not.

The whole up zoning scheme is to gentrify, raise rents, drive out the less fortunate, and increase the tax base coming out of the new developments and higher income people.

The mayor should be ashamed of himself but sadly isn't even phased by the ridicule he's receiving.
Nov. 21, 2015, 7:53 am
Ian from Willamsburg says:
Stop this awful upzoning. If you want to see the future of up zone architectural mediocrity drive down 4th Ave near Park Slope.
Nov. 21, 2015, 9:14 am
Aaron from Greenwood Heights says:
In addition, it should be noted that the Mayor voted for the contextual rezoning of South Slope/Greenwood Hts. in 2006, when he was a Councilman, and supported the rezoning of Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace. Guess the backing by developers on the campaign trail changed his tune.
Nov. 23, 2015, 10:31 am

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