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January 20th, 2009

Rachaele Raynoff / Jennifer Torres (City Planning)   (212) 720-3471

Proposal Would Provide Framework for Appropriate Development and Create Innovative Zoning Solutions to Complement Brighton’s Bungalow Area

January 20, 2008 – City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden today announced the beginning of public review for the Department’s comprehensive rezoning proposal to protect the character of the Brighton Beach neighborhood in Brooklyn. This effort was undertaken at the strong request of the local community, Community Board 13 and local elected officials and developed with their input. City Planning’s fine-grained proposal would prevent future out-of-scale development, create innovative zoning solutions to recognize the unique character of Brighton’s bungalows, establish height limits for the first time, and provide modest opportunities for growth as well as incentives for the provision of affordable housing.  

“City Planning’s 50 block rezoning proposal will preserve the scale of this unique community by removing the incentive to demolish one- and two- family homes in order to build multi-family residential buildings” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden “The proposal will update decades old zoning to better reflect the built fabric and allow for predictable development that reinforces Brighton Beach’s special character and strengthens neighborhood commercial corridors.”

The rezoning area encompasses over 50 blocks generally bounded by Ocean Parkway to the west, Shore Parkway to the north, Brighton Beach Avenue to the south and Corbin Place and Cass Place to the east. The existing built character within the rezoning area primarily consists of lower-density homes between one and three stories tall, with larger apartment buildings ranging from four- to 13-stories located along major avenues and in the eastern portion of the area.  Notable within the rezoning area is an approximately 9 block area of small, distinctive, one- to two-story bungalow-style cottages, many of which are arranged along narrow pedestrian lanes. The neighborhood is served by a thriving commercial corridor along Brighton Beach Avenue and by retail along Neptune and Coney Island Avenues.

The current zoning is almost exclusively R6 with portions of two blocks covered by C8-1 in the northeastern corner of the neighborhood along Neptune Avenue. Recent development trends have included the construction of buildings that are out of context with the existing built character due to outdated zoning that has remained in place since 1961.  Current zoning has no prescribed height limits and has resulted in the replacement of existing smaller homes with new construction ranging from 6-story apartment buildings to 13-story residential towers.

City Planning’s carefully crafted proposal would:

  • Protect the established built character of Brighton’s lower-density areas primarily containing one-, two- and three-family homes, by rezoning approximately 35 blocks within the rezoning area with lower density contextual zoning districts allowing 3 to 4 story buildings (R4A, R5, R5D; height limits of 35 feet, 40 feet and 40 feet, respectively)
  • Create innovative zoning regulations that recognize the unique character of the bungalow area in Brighton Beach while also creating incentives that seek to establish a regular pattern of development, maximizing the provision of full-size rear yards and access to the services of streets.
  • Establish a sensible framework for modest growth and the creation of affordable housing by mapping R7A in densely built residential areas and along wide streets and commercial corridors.  R7A is proposed for Neptune and Coney Island Avenues, and Brighton Beach Avenue east of Coney Island Avenue, buildings in these areas would be allowed a maximum height of 80 feet, or about eight stories.
  • Implement modified R7A and C4-4A regulations to address the unique character of Ocean Parkway and Brighton Beach Avenue with special height and setback rules.
  • Map C4-4A with special regulations to allow a maximum height of 100 feet, or about 10 stories after a lower than usual setback requirement at 30 to 40 feet to reflect the presence of the elevated train tracks and platform and ensure sufficient light and air for the adjacent buildings along Brighton Beach Avenue between Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue.
  • Reflect the grand scale of development along the 210 foot wide Ocean Parkway and the unique context of very deep lots and large front yards by mapping R7A with special regulations. Development on Ocean Parkway would be allowed to rise to a maximum height of 125 feet, or about 12 stories.
  • Provide incentives for the development and preservation of affordable housing along Ocean Parkway, Brighton Beach Avenue, Coney Island Avenue and Neptune Avenue using the inclusionary housing program.  Under this program buildings can only achieve the maximum allowable density if they provide 20 percent of their floor area as permanently affordable housing, subject to the overall height limit. Tax abatements and public financing provide an added incentive for the use of the inclusionary program.
  • Reinforce neighborhood commercial corridors by mapping commercial zoning districts and overlays to reflect the current extent of retail activity in the area.

The community board now has 60 days to review the proposal, after which it will go to the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council as part of the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). For specifics of the zoning proposal or more details on the ULURP timeline, please visit the DCP website.

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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