Goals and Constraints
The Greenpoint-Williamsburg Rezoning proposal
lays out a set of principles to guide the zoning
proposal for waterfront blocks in Greenpoint-Williamsburg.
The principles themselves stem from the community’s
goals, balanced against the constraints involved
in waterfront development. The underlying goals
for waterfront development are drawn from the
Department of City Planning’s analysis,
the community’s 197-a Plans, and the continuing
input of the Community Board 1 Rezoning Task Force.
- Be comprehensive -- plan for the
- Achieve public access to the waterfront;
- Facilitate housing development,
at a moderate density, with a variety of housing
- Require development to address
the scale of the existing neighborhood; and
- Promote quality design.
At the same time, waterfront development poses
a unique set of challenges:
- Waterfront sites are privately
- Most waterfront access on privately
owned sites will be achieved only upon development,
which will occur only if it is financially feasible;
- A variety of factors contribute
to higher development costs on waterfront sites,
including: the cost of new infrastructure, such
as utilities and roads; necessary repairs at
the water’s edge; environmental remediation;
a high water table that generally means construction
of above-ground parking structures; and public
access requirements, which limit the lot area
available for buildings.
Recognizing both the goals and challenges of waterfront
development, the following principles are identified:
development that reconnects the neighborhood
to the waterfront. Waterfront development
should connect upland neighborhood and the waterfront,
rather than separate them.
low-rise buildings at the neighborhood’s
edge. Create a smooth transition in building
scale and form from upland neighborhoods to
taller buildings near the water’s edge.
Taller buildings should be shifted away
from the low-rise buildings and narrow streets
of upland neighborhoods, and toward the water,
where they can frame new open spaces.
a varied and compelling skyline. Building
heights should vary along the waterfront, avoiding
monotonous, monolithic development.
a variety of built forms and quality design.
Zoning should accommodate a variety of
building types, and promote high-quality architecture
and urban design.
a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Development
should relate to public streets and public access
areas, rather than turn its back on them.
water-based transportation. Water taxi
service should be accommodated along the Greenpoint-Williamsburg
waterfront to supplement the existing transportation