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January 7th, 2008

Rachaele Raynoff, Press Secretary -- (212) 720-3471

Fulfills Commitment in Hunts Point Vision Plan

January 7, 2008 - The Department of City Planning (DCP) today began public review on a rezoning for portions of the Hunt Point Peninsula, home to the world’s largest wholesale food distribution center and a growing residential community.  The goals of the rezoning, as outlined in the Hunts Point Vision Plan announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2005, are to create a buffer between the residential area and heavier manufacturing uses on the Hunts Point Peninsula and to encourage the growth and expansion of the food industry sector in Hunts Point.  At the same time, the rezoning would discourage the expansion of waste transfer stations in sensitive areas and require all industrial uses to be enclosed in those areas.  The Hunts Point Vision Plan was a comprehensive initiative developed by a task force of community leaders, business owners, local constituents, elected officials and government agencies to promote a competitive business environment and sustainable community on the Peninsula.

City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden said, "Our proposed zoning can help make better neighbors of the diverse mix of businesses and uses on the Hunts Point Peninsula.  By buffering the food market and residential community from heavy industrial uses, and encouraging the growth of the food industry and new retail, this rezoning will help each sector thrive in a healthier environment.  We are delighted today to advance one of the key actions called for in the Hunts Point Vision Plan."

"The Hunts Point rezoning exemplifies the types of business-friendly policy that is synergistic with the Bloomberg administration efforts to expand the Food Distribution Center," said incoming Deputy Mayor for Economic Development President Robert Lieber. "It is an affirmation of the Mayor's industrial policy in one of the City’s key Industrial Business Zones (IBZ) and will not only enhance retail but also support a growing arts community, which is good for business and for the City."

Borough President Adolfo Carrion said, "The Hunts Point Vision Plan stands as one of the most significant economic and sustainable community development initiatives during my
administration.  This rezoning action will buffer both the residential and food industry areas of Hunts Point from one of its greatest environmental challenges - waste related operations. Establishing these land-use regulations assures a healthier Hunts Point community and enhances opportunities for business development and job creation."

At the heart of the peninsula are primarily industrial uses surrounding a 22-block residential core. An estimated 12,000 people live in this area. Local retail is located along Hunts Point Avenue and Lafayette Avenue at the heart of the residential area.  The industrial  areas are comprised of a growing number of food related uses as well as open auto scrap yards, repair shops and waste transfer stations.  Along the east edge of the peninsula is the vast Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, home of the City's major wholesale meat, fish and produce markets, as well as other major food distribution and manufacturing firms.

The plan calls for the rezoning of 70 blocks immediately surrounding the residential core from heavy industrial zoning to M1-2, which would double the permitted FAR from 1 to 2 (in certain areas) to encourage the growth of food-related and other complementary uses. M1-2 has the highest performance standards of any manufacturing district, meaning the strictest limits on noise, vibration, smoke or other effects of industrial uses.  Residential use would continue to be prohibited in M1-2. The proposal would not change the heavier industrial M3-1 zoning for the blocks largely south of Oak Point Avenue which contain heavy industrial uses. Nor would it affect the Food Distribution Center itself.

The 70 blocks would comprise a new Special Hunts Point District with two distinct sub-districts:
  • Residential Buffer Subdistrict – A 33-block ring roughly two blocks deep would surround the residential core, with special use restrictions to provide a buffer from heavier industrial and waste-related uses.  Permitted industrial activities and storage would have to be completely enclosed.  In addition, in order to encourage food-related retail to support the residential area, parking requirements for supermarkets and similar stores would be relaxed, and a variety of retailers would be permitted to locate in the area regardless of size without having to apply for a Special Permit.  To support the growing arts scene on the Peninsula, restrictions would be lifted on community facilities such as art galleries, libraries, museums, and community centers, among other such uses.

  • Food Industry Subdistrict – A 37 block U-shaped area south of Randall and Longwood Avenues would buffer the food distribution center from heavier industrial uses to the southwest and provide a better environment for food-related and complementary businesses.  Growth of food-related industries would provide more job opportunities on the Peninsula. Most heavy industrial useswould be prohibited in this subdistrict, with the exception of machinery repair and plastics manufacturing. An exception is being made for these businesses, which have historically been located in Hunts Point, as they not only provide a substantial number of jobs, but they also have proven to be compatible with food businesses.  In addition, the Food Industry Subdistrict would allow refrigeration plants as they provide a valuable food-related service.  The enclosure requirement for industrial uses, also applicable in this subdistrict, will help improve the physical appearance of Hunts Point.
New waste-related uses and open scrap yards would be disallowed throughout the Special District.  While city-wide regulations under consideration regarding planting of street trees would exempt certain manufacturing districts, street trees would be required for all developments throughout the Hunts Point Special District.

The rezoning is part of the larger comprehensive approach called for in the Hunts Point Vision Plan.  Its goals include strengthening the quality of the business environment, especially for food-related manufacturing uses; fostering local workforce development; improving traffic safety and efficiency, and developing new recreation opportunities for local employees and residents. 

Progress on these goals include :
  • The Department of Parks & Recreation has opened the new Barretto Point Park at the southern end of Tiffany Street, which will offer waterfront access for the peninsula's western shore, and Riverside Park has been opened offering substantial access to the Bronx River.  To complement these initiatives, EDC, in partnership with the Point Community Development Corporation and Sustainable South Bronx, is advancing the development of the South Bronx Greenway.

  • As part of the effort to create better traffic conditions on the peninsula, the City's Department of Transportation (DOT) has already implemented new truck routes to provide a more efficient and safer circulation pattern. In addition, the City will improve critical intersections, install large truck way-finding signs, and reconfigure Food Center Drive to allow for intersection improvements, one-way circulation and a new bike lane.

  • EDC and DOT will make streetscapes and sidewalks more pedestrian-friendly by improving lighting, landscaping and paving surfaces.

  • EDC will market the remaining vacant parcels within the Food Distribution Center to attract new food-distribution and manufacturing companies to Hunts Point.

The City has already invested $160 million at the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, including the new Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point, which accommodated the Fulton Fish Market’s relocation from Lower Manhattan to Hunts Point in 2005.  In total, the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center is comprised of 115 wholesalers that provide 10,000 jobs, generate revenue of more than $3 billion a year and feed much of the New York region.  Much of the Hunts Point Peninsula outside the residential core is designated as one of the City’s IBZs, areas in which the City provides expanded assistance services to industrial firms and where the City has committed that it will not rezone for residential use.

Today's certification of the Special Hunts Point District rezoning officially begins the City's seven month Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), with formal review to follow by Bronx Community Board 2, the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and City Council.  For more information on ULURP or further details on the Hunts Point rezoning, please visit the Department of City Planning web page.

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review; preparation of plans and policies; and provision of technical assistance and planning information to government agencies, public officials, and community boards.

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