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April 9, 2007

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


April 9, 2007 – City Planning Director Amanda Burden announced the beginning of public review for a rezoning proposal of roughly 134 blocks in the northeast Bronx neighborhoods of Wakefield and Eastchester to preserve existing neighborhood character throughout the lower density areas and to facilitate new development along White Plains Road.

"Our rezoning of Wakefield and Eastchester will ensure that future residential development will complement the existing context of one- and two-family detached and semi-detached homes," Director Burden said. "Looking to the future of our growing city, it will also encourage mixed-use residential and retail development on the commercial White Plains Road corridor, which has excellent transit access, and an existing mid-rise apartment context."

The rezoning study was undertaken at the request of the Wakefield Taxpayers' and Civic League, and Community Board 12. The neighborhoods proposed to be rezoned are generally bounded by the Carpenter Avenue on the west, East 233rd Street to the south, the Dyre Avenue subway right-of-way, Provost Avenue to the east, and the New York Mount Vernon City Line on the north.

The proposal calls for changing the area's outdated zoning, which is more than 45 years old and permits multi-family buildings and row houses, even though the neighborhoods are characterized primarily by one- and two-family detached and semi-detached housing. As a result of the mismatch between existing zoning and neighborhood character, there has been an increasing amount of out-of-character residential development in areas that have limited capacity to support the densities currently allowed.

The proposal would rezone all or parts of over 120 blocks with contextual R5A, R4A and R4-1 districts. These districts would prohibit new row houses and multi-family buildings. They would limit the density of new development and allow only single- and two-family detached houses in the R5A and R4A districts. The R4-1 districts would allow semi-detached houses in addition to one- and two-family detached houses. In addition, portions of four blocks in the Eastchester neighborhood which are presently zoned for light industrial use but developed predominantly with residential buildings, would be rezoned to an R4 district.

Fourteen block fronts along White Plains Road would be rezoned from R5 to R6 to allow increased residential and mixed-use development that takes advantage of the corridor's subway and bus accessibility. The proposed zoning district provides for residential development between three and twelve stories, with the greater height allowed for buildings that provide more open space. The proposed zoning would allow new residential structures the option to be set back from the elevated subway structure and street and to be built as taller, thinner buildings rather than low-rise, high lot coverage buildings allowed under the optional quality housing regulations.

Existing commercial overlays along White Plains Road Commercial overlays would be reduced slightly in depth to better match existing patterns of commercial development and prevent commercial uses from encroaching near the rear lots of existing residential buildings on streets parallel to White Plains Road.

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.

The City Planning Commission will vote on two other Bronx rezonings, for the communities of Park Stratton and Clason Point, on April 11, 2007.

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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