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October 18, 2004

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


October 18, 2004 – City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden announced the official start of public review for a rezoning that would protect the character of 249 blocks in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. The proposed rezoning represents a fine-grained approach that reflects the varied character of this neighborhood. It would provide protections against out-of-scale development on Bay Ridge’s unique limestone townhouse blocks and it would also triple the number of blocks – those characterized predominantly by detached houses – where only this type of housing would be permitted. In other parts of the neighborhood, the proposed zoning is also closely tailored to the prevailing neighborhood context, allowing opportunities for apartment house construction with ground floor retail on the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares. This is the largest such initiative to date in Brooklyn and it builds on the Bloomberg administration’s commitment to protect the City’s primarily low density neighborhoods by ensuring that new development reinforces, and does not undermine, the neighborhood fabric.

"In the face of growing concerns that out-of-character development is overwhelming the neighborhood, we are proposing new zoning tailored to ensure that new development will better reflect the prevailing nature of the buildings on each block," said Ms. Burden. "While the current zoning rules prevent apartment towers from being developed, they do not prohibit out-of-character development. The new zoning will provide these protections. For example, on blocks characterized by single family detached homes, the new zoning will no longer permit their demolition and replacement with multi-family buildings."

The area to be rezoned is in southwestern Brooklyn’s Community District 10 and covers the area between 65th Street on the north, Shore Road and the Narrows waterway to the south and west, and Seventh Avenue and the Gowanus Expressway to the east. The recent proliferation on detached house blocks of multi-family housing, characterized by some as "Fedders buildings" for the name on the air-conditioning sleeves, prompted local officials to request that Department of City Planning (DCP) study the area. The zoning proposal resulting from that study will:

  • Preserve neighborhood character by reducing the permitted density on over half of the neighborhood blocks and maintaining existing height and bulk protections on the remainder

  • Impose new height restrictions throughout the district

  • Retain provisions of the existing special district that limit the height of community facilities and mandate street tree planting with new construction

  • Map districts allowing only detached housing on 42 blocks and on 59 blocks map districts allowing semi-detached housing.

  • Reinforce Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenues as corridors for mid-rise mixed retail/residential buildings.

  • Support commercial and medical office development in the neighborhood’s commercial core south of 86th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues

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). More details on the ULURP timeline is available on the DCP website.

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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