Brighton Beach is located in southwestern Brooklyn between the neighborhoods of Manhattan Beach and Coney Island and north of the Atlantic Ocean and the Reiglemann boardwalk in Community District 13. The proposed rezoning area contains approximately 54 blocks generally bounded by Ocean Parkway to the west, Shore Parkway to the north, Brighton Beach Avenue to the south and Corbin Place and Cass Place to the east.
The neighborhood of Brighton Beach was originally developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a seaside resort and, following the establishment of full service to Manhattan on the Brighton Subway Line in 1920, it has evolved into a well-established residential neighborhood. The residential character of the area today is a mix of large apartment buildings located primarily along wide streets and commercial corridors ranging from four- to 12-stories; two- to four-story multi-family walk-ups and Single Room Occupancy dwellings (SROs); and lower-density residential areas developed with one-to three-family attached, semi-detached, and detached homes grouped on the narrow side streets between Brighton Beach Avenue and Neptune Avenue, and between Neptune Avenue and Shore Parkway.
Notable is a distinctive grouping of small, bungalow-style cottages located in the area generally bounded by Coney Island Avenue, Brighton 1st Street, Ocean View Avenue, and Neptune Avenue (“bungalow area”). This area was sub-divided and developed in the 1920s by Brighton-by-the-Sea Corp. on the former site of the Brighton Beach racetrack. These unusually small lots, typically measuring 40 x 40 feet, are arranged along narrow pedestrian lanes on the interiors of the blocks as well as on mapped streets.
Recent development in Brighton Beach, both new construction and expansion of existing buildings, has included residential, commercial, and mixed-use development. In the bungalow area, assembly of several characteristically small lots into development sites has resulted in construction that is both out of scale with the existing built context, and has the effect of isolating properties located along pedestrian lanes on the interiors of the blocks. The proposed rezoning would establish regulations to ensure that future development reflects the character of the area, while allowing for modest growth along wide avenues and commercial corridors and providing incentives for the creation of affordable housing.
Out of character development on Brighton 6th Street between
Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean View Avenue
The neighborhood includes a thriving commercial corridor along Brighton Beach Avenue located beneath the elevated B and Q subway line (with stops at Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Parkway), and also has retail stores along the Neptune and Coney Island Avenue corridors. In addition to subway access, the area is served by several bus lines connecting Brighton Beach to other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, as well as providing access to Manhattan, and the Shore Parkway provides auto access to local and regional highways.
The rezoning study area is currently zoned R6, with portions of two blocks covered by C8-1 districts in the northeastern corner of the neighborhood along Neptune Avenue. C1-3 and C1-2 commercial overlays are mapped on portions of Neptune Avenue, Coney Island Avenue, and the entirety of Brighton Beach Avenue. Additionally, much of the study area falls within the Special Ocean Parkway District and a Quality Housing Study Area covers much of the area west of the Brighton subway right-of-way and north of Brighton Beach Avenue. View the zoning comparison chart.
R6 is a height factor zoning district that currently covers all or part of each of the 54 blocks in the rezoning area. Residential and community facility uses (Use Groups 1-4) are permitted in R6 zoning districts, with no height limits and a maximum floor area ratio (FAR) of up to 2.43 for residential uses and 4.8 for buildings containing community facility uses. Off-street parking is required for 70% of the dwelling units. Developers may utilize the optional Quality Housing Program which permits up to 2.2 FAR with a maximum building height of 55 feet on narrow streets and up to 3.0 FAR with a height limit of 70 feet on wide streets. Under Quality Housing regulations off-street parking is required is for 50% of the dwelling units. In R6 districts, if fewer than five spaces are required off-street parking is waived. The current R6 zoning allows and has resulted in construction of 10-13 story tower buildings that are out of character with the predominant two- to four-story character of interior blocks within the Brighton Beach neighborhood.
Portions of two blocks, or roughly 5% of the study area, are located in C8-1 zoning districts. The C8-1 districts are located at the north-eastern boundary of the study area along Neptune Avenue. C8-1 districts permit heavy commercial uses such as automotive sales and repair and gas stations. The maximum FAR allowed in C8-1 districts is 1.0, and building height is governed by the sky-exposure plane. One off-street parking space is required for every 200 square feet of general commercial use, with developments requiring fewer than 15 spaces eligible for a waiver of parking requirements.
C1-2 and C1-3 Commercial Overlays
There are commercial overlays permitting local retail uses mapped along Brighton Beach Avenue and portions of Coney Island Avenue and Neptune Avenue, covering portions of 28 blocks, or 51% of blocks in the study area. The C1 overlays allow small-scale retail and service shops needed in residential neighborhoods. The maximum FAR for commercial uses in the C1 overlay districts is 2.0. One off-street parking space is required for every 400 square feet of general commercial use in C1-3 districts, and for every 300 square feet in C1-2 districts. For developments in C1-3 districts that would require 25 or fewer parking spaces, off-street parking is waived, while C1-3 district regulations allow up to 15 spaces to be waived.
Special Ocean Parkway District
The purpose of the Special Ocean Parkway District (OP) is to promote and strengthen the scenic landmark designation of the corridor, maintain the character of the area, protect environmental quality, and promote the most desirable uses of land. The OP extends the full length of Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, and includes the Brighton Beach study area north of Brighton Beach Avenue and west of Coney Island Avenue. Regulations applying to the OP include mandated 30-foot deep front yards along Ocean Parkway, and require planting and landscaping in these areas.
Additionally, limitations are placed on bulk for the construction and expansion of community facility buildings. In the Brighton Beach study area, for properties within the Special Ocean Parkway District, community facilities are limited to the residential bulk regulations of the underlying R6 district. However, the City Planning Commission may allow use of community facility bulk regulations by Certificationthat the development or expansion is not incompatible with surrounding development, and does not exceed the maximum community facility bulk allowed in the underlying zoning district.
Quality Housing Study Area
Quality Housing Study Areas were established along with the introduction of Quality Housing regulations in the city in 1987, and aim to preserve the scale and character of lower-density areas by limiting the use of the Quality Housing Program in several locations throughout the city. In Brighton Beach the Quality Housing Study Area is bounded by Brighton Beach Avenue to the south, Ocean Parkway to the west, Shore Parkway to the north, and the Brighton Beach subway line to the east.
Within the Quality Housing Study Area, Quality Housing regulations may not be used on lots occupied by a 1,2 or 3 family detached or semi-detached home on a block where 70% or more of the block-fronts on both sides of the street are developed with such buildings. Development on these lots is limited to the R6 Height Factor regulations.
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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.