October 22, 2003
Raynoff, Press Secretary -- (212) 720-3471
CITY PLANNING COMMISSION
APPROVES BRONX COMMUNITY BOARD 8’S PLAN FOR
PRESERVING UNIQUE CHARACTER OF DISTRICT’S NEIGHBORHOODS
October 22, 2003 – Emphasizing the city’s
commitment to supporting community-based planning, Amanda
M. Burden, Director of the Department of City Planning
(DCP), today announced the approval of Bronx Community
District 8’s "197-a Plan" entitled
River to Reservoir Neighborhood Preservation Strategy.
The plan, approved unanimously at today’s meeting
of the City Planning Commission, incorporates the community
board’s recommendations for preserving the district’s
low-density residential neighborhoods. DCP has committed
to implementing rezonings of eight areas proposed by
the community, strengthening Special Natural Area Districts
and helping the board find ways to tackle remaining
concerns which were beyond the scope of a community-based
plan. The plan now goes to the City Council for approval.
"Community Board 8’s complicated and sophisticated
undertaking is an excellent example of how a community
can articulate a vision, do the hard work to create
consensus and guide its plan to fruition. It has shaped
a workable blueprint in keeping with the Bloomberg administration’s
commitment to protect the unique character of neighborhoods
that are among the city’s most precious assets,"
said Ms. Burden. "The Department will proceed
with the community board to implement priority zoning
actions recommended in the community’s plan."
Ms. Burden commended Community Board 8 (CB8) for its
tenacity regarding its concern for protecting natural
areas as well as for its willingness to engage in constructive
compromise. CB8 and DCP have agreed to strengthen the
Special Natural Area District (SNAD) and DCP has begun
work on this as a joint effort with its Staten Island
office. DCP will also examine the community’s
proposed expansion of the SNAD, and has identified additional
areas for protection through SNAD designation.
DCP and CB8 have agreed to proceed immediately with
eight rezoning areas in the community where there is
a mismatch between what existing zoning allows and the
predominant scale of buildings. These areas include
sections of the following neighborhoods:
- • Kingsbridge Heights
• Sedgwick Avenue
• Van Cortlandt Village
• North Riverdale
• Central Riverdale
• Riverdale and
• Spuyten Duyvil
DCP’s zoning changes for these areas will lower
allowable density or provide contextual controls at
existing densities to guide new development so that
it is appropriate to the character of each neighborhood.
William Abramson, former CB8 chair, who spearheaded
the plan at the community board, said, "The Community
Board and the community have enthusiastically supported
the 197-a through the process, seeking to maintain the
unique character of our communities as well as identify
areas that would be appropriate for affordable housing.
We look forward to working with CP to act on the blueprint
for rezoning. The success of implementation of all aspects
of our plan will depend on the tenacity of the board,
community groups and the elected officials."
The 197-a plan, passed unanimously by the Community
Board in May and approved by the Bronx Borough President
in August, also seeks to improve local commercial districts,
improve access to cultural and educational facilities,
create additional recreational resources, enhance parks,
encourage the greening of major corridors, and preserve
and promote the area’s historical resources.
Named for a section of the New York City Charter, a
197-a plan provides a framework for development in a
geographic area, such as a community district. Under
Section 197-a, community boards or other entities may
sponsor plans for the "development, growth and
improvement" of their communities. A 197-a plan
is primarily concerned with land use, but it may also
focus on other areas of concern. All 197-a plans undergo
an extensive public review process before being finalized.
Once approved by the City Planning Commission and adopted
by the City Council, a 197-a plan is intended to guide
subsequent actions by city agencies.
DCP is also engaged in field studies of several communities
in the Throgs Neck area to assess the effects of increased
construction there, and will present preliminary zoning
proposals in November to address over development and
protect neighborhood character.
About 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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