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

Waterfront Development:
• Goals and Constraints
Proposed Zoning
Illustrative Images
Illustrative Animations

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 whole waterfront;
  • Achieve public access to the waterfront;
  • Facilitate housing development, at a moderate density, with a variety of housing types;
  • 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 owned;
  • Most waterfront access on privately owned sites will be achieved only upon development, which will occur only if it is financially feasible; and
  • 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.

Waterfront Development Principles
          logo for Greenpoint-Williamsburg Land Use and Waterfront Plan
Recognizing both the goals and challenges of waterfront development, the following principles are identified:

  • Facilitate development that reconnects the neighborhood to the waterfront. Waterfront development should connect upland neighborhood and the waterfront, rather than separate them.

  • Locate low-rise buildings at the neighborhood’s edge. Create a smooth transition in building scale and form from upland neighborhoods to waterfront blocks.

  • Locate 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.

  • Create a varied and compelling skyline. Building heights should vary along the waterfront, avoiding monotonous, monolithic development.

  • Encourage a variety of built forms and quality design. Zoning should accommodate a variety of building types, and promote high-quality architecture and urban design.

  • Create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Development should relate to public streets and public access areas, rather than turn its back on them.

  • Accommodate water-based transportation. Water taxi service should be accommodated along the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront to supplement the existing transportation network.

Next >> Waterfront Development - Proposed Zoning

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