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April 23, 2007

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


April 23, 2007 - City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden announced the start of public review for a 99-block rezoning of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn Community District 2. The rezoning was undertaken at the request of the community board, local civic groups and elected officials to protect the low-rise, brownstone character of roughly 80 blocks while providing opportunities for modest growth and affordable housing along commercial corridors. 

"It is essential to update the 45-year-old zoning that jeopardizes the neighborhood's character and built fabric” said Director Burden. “Our proposal would protect this predominantly low-rise area from out-of-scale development while at the same time find appropriate opportunities for growth and affordable housing by utilizing the City's groundbreaking inclusionary zoning program."

The rezoning area is generally bounded by Park Avenue on the north, Classon Avenue to the east, Atlantic Avenue on the South and Ashland Place, Fort Greene Park and Carlton Avenue on the west. 

The area is largely zoned R6 with a few blocks along Atlantic and Myrtle Avenues zoned R7-2 and R7-1. Under these zoning designations, tower apartment buildings without height limits are permitted which has resulted in buildings that are inconsistent with the brownstone character of the neighborhood.  Five blocks along Atlantic Avenue are zoned M1-1, which allows for light manufacturing and commercial uses, but prohibits residential uses.

The rezoning proposal would:
  • Protect the established brownstone character by rezoning approximately 80 blocks with contextual R5B and R6B zoning districts, establishing  three-to five- story height limits 

  • Along the Atlantic Avenue corridor, encourage mixed-use development and allow for a wider variety of commercial uses by mapping an R7A district and a C2-4 commercial overlay.  R7A allows for modest sized apartment buildings approximately six to eight stories high. New industrial uses in the M1-1 area proposed for rezoning would be prohibited.

  • Reinforce the commercial corridors of Myrtle Avenue and Fulton Street for mixed retail and residential buildings by mapping an R7A zoning district with a C2-4 commercial overlay that would allow for a wider variety of active retail ground-floor uses to serve the local community 

  • Provide opportunities and incentives for as many as 260 affordable housing units along Atlantic and Myrtle avenues and Fulton Street through inclusionary zoning. 

The proposal is a continuation of the Bloomberg Administration's priority to protect and sustain the distinct qualities of the city's low-and mid- density neighborhoods while directing growth to areas where the infrastructure can better support it.  It also builds on the Mayor's affordable housing program to create or preserve affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers by 2013.

The rezoning proposal would apply the Inclusionary Housing zoning to proposed R7A districts along Myrtle and Atlantic avenues and Fulton Street, establishing incentives for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in conjunction with new development.   Inclusionary Housing zoning enables construction of additional housing in exchange for providing affordable housing.  In the R7A districts, the base FAR of 3.45 could be increased to 4.6 FAR in exchange for allocating 20 percent of the floor area in the building to affordable housing units. Contextual height limits for the R7A district, including a maximum street wall height of 65 feet and a maximum building height of 80 feet after a setback would continue to apply.  Affordable units can be provided either on the site of the development earning the bonus, or off-site through new construction or preservation of existing affordable units. Off-site affordable units must be located within the same community district or within a half-mile of the bonused development. Available city, state, and federal housing finance programs may be used to finance affordable units. The combination of a zoning bonus with housing programs would establish a powerful incentive for the development and preservation of affordable housing in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

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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