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Projects & Proposals > Brooklyn > Greenpoint-Williamsburg Printer Friendly Version
Greenpoint-Williamsburg - Approved!
Planning Framework - Background
Overview | Planning Framework | Upland Areas | Waterfront Access
Waterfront Development
| EIS | Timeline

Planning Framework:
• Background
Existing Zoning
Decline in Industrial Activity
Residential Growth
Land Use Framework

Greenpoint and Williamsburg developed more than 100 years ago during Brooklyn’s great industrial age, when both sides of the East River were dominated by large factories, oil refineries, and shipyards. The neighborhoods adjoining the waterfront housed the workers and, within these areas, homes and factories intermingled, setting a pattern of mixed use that still shapes the neighborhoods today.

Over the years, these neighborhoods have grown and adapted to changing economic conditions. The refineries and shipbuilders have gone, and new generations of businesses, entrepreneurs, artists, and residents have emerged. Today, Greenpoint-Williamsburg is once again a vibrant community, from the bustling commerce of Manhattan and Bedford Avenues to the many distinctive side streets. The waterfront, however, remains largely derelict, dominated by empty lots and crumbling structures, and almost entirely inaccessible to the public.

Building on the Community 197-a Plans
The Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfront 197-a Plans, sponsored by Community Board 1 and officially adopted in January 2002, were the result of years of community effort and collaboration with the Department of City Planning. The plans articulated a number of principles that have guided the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Land Use and Waterfront Plan, including:

Achieving waterfront access. Both plans place the highest priority on new and improved public spaces along their waterfronts.
Facilitating housing and local commercial development. Recognizing the need for new housing to serve diverse income levels, both plans propose new development on vacant and underused land, at a scale compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.
Pursuing rezoning actions. Both the Greenpoint and Williamsburg 197-a Plans encourage expeditious rezoning actions to address these issues and opportunities

Building upon these principles, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Land Use and Waterfront Plan seeks to accomplish the following objectives:

Reflect changing conditions. Enact comprehensive zoning changes to address the dramatic changes that have taken place in recent decades, and to prepare the communities for the twenty-first century.
Promote housing opportunities. Capitalize on vacant and underused land for new housing development, addressing both local and citywide needs.
Fulfill the city’s commitment to affordable housing. Under the Mayor’s housing plan, New York City is committed to investment in affordable housing, particularly in areas rezoned for residential use.
Address neighborhood context. New development should fit in with its surroundings, building on the strong character of the existing neighborhoods.
Protect important concentrations of industrial activity. While industry in the area has been declining sharply for decades, manufacturing zones should be retained where important concentrations of industrial activity and employment exist.
Create a continuous waterfront walkway and maximize public access to the waterfront. Establish a blueprint for a revitalized, publicly accessible East River waterfront.
Facilitate development that will reconnect the neighborhood to the waterfront. Taking into account the difficulties of waterfront redevelopment, shape new development so that it connects the inland neighborhoods to the waterfront.

Next >> Planning Framework - Existing Zoning



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