Recent changes have triggered the community’s desire for this zoning study:
- land use changes made as part of an amendment to the Fulton Park Urban Renewal Plan, approved in 2003;
- the large increase in new commercial and residential construction in Bedford-Stuyvesant that has, in some cases, resulted in new developments that are out of character with the surrounding neighborhood context, such as front yard parking pads, curb cuts and deep front yards which are permitted under the current R5 and R6 zoning.
The proposed zoning map changes and zoning text amendments would:
View the zoning comparison chart.
- Preserve neighborhood scale and character through contextual zoning districts with height limits throughout the rezoning area;
- Reinforce the north/south avenues as corridors for apartment buildings with ground floor commercial uses;
- Allow for residential growth and facilitate affordable housing along the Fulton Street retail and transit corridor;
- Require active ground floor uses on Fulton Street;
- Facilitate development of vacant parcels;
- Protect the residential character of lots adjacent to retail corridors; and
- Recognize and preserve existing commercial retail uses.
Description of the Proposal
Zoning Map Changes
R5, R6 to R5B
Approximately six percent (12 full and partial blocks) of the rezoning area would be rezoned to R5B. These areas, where two- and three- story row houses predominate are:
- four blocks generally bounded by Halsey Street to the north, Ralph Avenue to the west, Bainbridge Street to the south, and Howard Avenue to east;
- three blocks generally bounded by Herkimer Street to the north, Howard Avenue to the west, Atlantic Avenue to the south, and Saratoga to the east; and;
- three blocks generally bounded by Herkimer Street to the north, Troy Avenue to the west, Atlantic Avenue to the south, and Schenectady Avenue to the east.
R5B districts typically produce three-story row houses and allow an FAR of 1.35 for residential uses and 2.0 for community facility uses, with a maximum street wall height of 30 feet and a maximum building height of 33 feet. Infill zoning is not applicable in R5B. Front yard parking and curb cuts are prohibited on all zoning lots less than 40 feet wide. When parking is required, on-site spaces must be provided for two-thirds of the dwelling units.
R5, R6 to R6B
Over 92 percent (190 full and partial blocks) of the rezoning area would be rezoned to R6B. This proposed designation would protect the three- and four- story brownstone and rowhouse scale and character of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s residential core.
R6B districts allow a maximum FAR of 2.0 for all permitted uses and limit overall building heights to 50 feet and street wall heights to 40 feet. New development in the proposed R6B district would be required to line up with adjacent structures to maintain the existing street wall characteristics. New multifamily residences in R6B districts must provide one off-street parking space for 50 percent of the dwelling units. The proposed R6B regulations would allow for limited expansion of existing buildings consistent with new investment in the area, as well as provide for opportunities for appropriately scaled new development on vacant sites.
R5, R6, M1-1 to R6A
Approximately 60 percent (122 full and partial blocks) of the rezoning area would be rezoned to R6A. An R6A designation is proposed for lot frontages along the majority of north/south avenues leading to Fulton Street, as well portions of Gates Avenue and Herkimer Street. These avenues already contain large apartment buildings as well as some vacant land and vacant buildings. These blocks are currently zoned R5 and R6 with either a commercial overlay of C1-3 or C2-3. In addition, this R6A district together with a proposed C2-4 overlay district would include the current M1-1 zoning district along Nostrand Avenue between Gates Avenue and Monroe Street thereby making the existing residential and commercial uses conforming under the proposed zoning.
R6A has a maximum FAR of 3.0 for residential and community facility uses. Above a base height of 40 to 60 feet, the building must setback to a depth of 10 feet on a wide street and 15 feet on a narrow street before rising to a maximum height of 70 feet. New structures in R6A districts are required to line up with adjacent structures to maintain the streetwall. Off-street parking is required for 50 percent of the units, but is not allowed in the front of the building. In R6A districts, the Quality Housing Program is mandatory.
R6 to R7D
An R7D zoning district is proposed for all or parts of 20 blocks along Fulton Street and on Atlantic Avenue between Kane Place and Howard Avenue. Fulton Street is a major transit corridor near stations of the A, C, and G subway lines as well as the Long Island Rail Road. Fulton Street is developed with a mix of one-story commercial buildings, mixed residential and commercial buildings, as well as a number of large parcels of vacant city-owned land.
R7D is a proposed new residential district with an FAR of up to 4.2. The Inclusionary Housing program would be applicable in the proposed R7D district in Bedford-Stuyvesant. By using this program, developers could receive a 33 percent floor area bonus, up to 5.6 FAR, if 20 percent of the floor area is made affordable to low-income households either on-site or off-site. In the R7D district the maximum building base height is between 60 and 85 feet, above which the building must set back to a depth of 10 feet on a wide street and 15 feet on a narrow street before rising to its maximum height of 100 feet. New buildings in R7D districts would be required to line up with adjacent structures to maintain the street wall. In addition, where there are commercial overlays mapped within the R7D district, active ground floor uses, such as retail uses, commercial services, and community facilities would be required. Off-street parking would be required for at least 50 percent of the dwelling units.
Proposed C4-5D: C4-3, M1-1 to C4-5D
A C4-5D district is proposed for all or parts of eight blocks along Fulton Street between Bedford and Brooklyn Avenues and Nostrand Avenue between Macon Street and Atlantic Avenue. This district would encompass the existing C4-3 district on Fulton Street, as well as one block of a M1-1 zoning district that currently contains the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza.
C4-5D is a proposed new commercial district, which would permit residential, commercial, and community facility buildings, has a commercial and community facility FAR of 4.0 and a maximum residential FAR of 4.2. A residential FAR of 5.6 could be achieved if the Inclusionary Housing program (which would be applicable in C4-5D districts in Bedford-Stuyvesant) is utilized.
Proposed M1-1/R7D: M1-1 to M1-1/R7D
Five partial blocks generally bounded by Kane Place and Howard Avenue would be rezoned from an M1-1 district to a new Special Mixed Use District (MX-10), M1-1/R7. This district would reflect the current mixed use character of the area while allowing both manufacturing and residential uses. In order to allow for affordable housing development, new residential buildings would be able to apply the Inclusionary Housing program as described above.
Commercial Overlays: C1-3, C1-4, C2-3 to C2-4
The proposed rezoning would also change most existing C1-3, C1-4, and C2-3 commercial overlays to C2-4 and reduce overlay depths from 150 feet to 100 feet. This would allow a wider range of local uses and prevent commercial uses from encroaching on the residential side streets. C2 districts also permit a slightly wider range of uses, use groups 7-9, and 14 in C2, in addition to use groups 1-6 permitted in C1. Parking requirements in C2-4 districts decreases from one space per 300 square feet of floor area to one per 1000 square feet.
New C2-4 overlays would be added where there are existing commercial uses and overlays would be removed entirely on blocks where little or no commercial uses currently exist.
Zoning Text Changes
- New Contextual Zoning Districts-R7D/C4-5D
The rezoning proposal also includes an amendment to the Zoning Resolution to establish new R7D and C4-5D zoning districts to allow for medium density residential development. The two new zoning districts, which could subsequently be mapped in other parts of the city, would allow slightly more residential density and height than the current R7A district but less than the current R8A district. The R7A district has a FAR of 4.0 with a height limit of 80 feet. The R8A district has an FAR of 6.02, with a maximum height limit of 120 feet. The proposed R7D district has a base residential FAR of 4.2 and height limit of 100 feet.
The proposed C4-5D district and C2 overlays mapped within the proposed R7D district would require that all ground floor uses be non-residential, such as retail establishments, offices and community facilities. This new ground floor use requirement would be established in Section 32-434 of the Zoning Resolution. This would ensure that new development in these districts would have active ground floor uses.
Inclusionary Housing Program
The zoning text is also being amended to allow the inclusionary housing program to be applicable in R7D and C4-5D districts in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Under the Inclusionary Housing program, developments providing affordable housing are eligible for a floor area bonus, within contextual height and bulk regulations of the R7D and C4-5D districts. Affordable units can be provided either on the same site as the development earning the bonus, or off-site either 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 establishes an incentive for the development and preservation of affordable housing in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Inclusionary Housing Massing
Special Mixed Use District- (MX-10)
In addition, the proposed text amendment would establish a new Special Howard and Atlantic Avenues Mixed Use District, to preserve and allow for manufacturing uses and residential development.
Introduction | Existing Context and Zoning | Proposed Zoning | Public Review
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Brief explanations of terms in green italics can be viewed by clicking on the term. Words and phrases followed by an asterisk (*) are defined terms in the Zoning Resolution, primarily in Section 12-10. Consult the Zoning Resolution for the official and legally binding definitions of these words and phrases.