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Projects & Proposals > Brooklyn > Greenpoint-Williamsburg Printer Friendly Version
Greenpoint-Williamsburg - Approved!
Waterfront Development - Proposed Zoning
Overview | Planning Framework | Upland Areas | Waterfront Access
Waterfront Development
| EIS | Timeline
Waterfront Development:
Goals and Constraints
• Proposed Zoning
Illustrative Images
Illustrative Animations

Based on the principles described above, as well as detailed zoning and urban design analyses of the major waterfront redevelopment sites, the Department is proposing zoning map and text changes suited specifically to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront.

The proposed zoning combines zoning map changes with zoning text modifications that would apply specifically to the area governed by the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Access Plan:

          Proposed Zoning
link to proposed zoning map
PDF document View a larger graphic.

Mix of R6 and R8 zoning districts. The proposal would map R6 (2.43 FAR) and R8 (6.02 FAR) districts in a pattern that produces an FAR of 4.3 on waterfront development parcels. (Note: The initial option analyzed, an R7-3 (5.0 FAR) zoning district under existing waterfront zoning rules, would be poorly suited to these sites.) To ensure a sensitive transition to the upland, R6 zoning would require low-rise buildings at the neighborhood edge. The R8 districts, and the taller buildings they would accommodate, are located closer to the water. Zoning text modifications would allow greater flexibility in transferring floor area across district boundaries within parcels, to provide for better site planning.

Height Limits. Different height limits would apply in R6 and R8 districts, providing for variation in the skyline. To limit heights where the waterfront meets existing neighborhoods, new buildings In R6 districts within 100 feet of Commercial Street, Kent Avenue, Franklin Street, West Street, or Dupont Street would be limited to a maximum height of 65 feet (and a limit of six stories). Elsewhere in R6 districts, buildings would be permitted to rise to a maximum of 150 feet (the standard height limit for R6 districts on waterfront blocks). In R8 districts, buildings could rise to a maximum of 250 feet, as currently allowed under zoning. In addition, on sites where multiple towers can be built in R8 districts, half of those towers would be permitted to rise to a maximum of 350 feet.           Image of height limits
Floorplate Rules. To reduce the number of towers necessary to accommodate floor area on a site, and to provide for more economical construction, modifications are proposed to the size of building floor plates in this area. In R6 districts, the existing maximum of 8,100 square feet per tower floor would remain in effect. In R8 districts, floor plates of up to 11,000 square feet would be permitted. To prevent excessively long slab buildings, the maximum length of any tower would be limited to 170 feet (the length of a building fronting on a standard 200-foot-long city block).           Image of floorplate rules
Building Setbacks. Where a building consists of a tower rising above a base, a setback would be required at the top of the base. For towers, existing regulations require a wedding-cake style, with setbacks for each of the top four floors of a building. The proposed rules are simplified to include a single setback below the uppermost 40 feet of the building, in order to provide architectural articulation.           Image of building setbacks
Commercial Uses. A C2-4 commercial overlay district along the upland edge of waterfront blocks (e.g., Commercial Street, West Street, Kent Avenue) would permit local retail use along these streets. To activate waterfront public access areas and the east-west routes leading to them, small commercial establishments (less than 10,000 square feet each) would be permitted in portions of waterfront blocks outside the C2-4 overlay. In addition, docks for water taxis would be permitted along the waterfront.           Image of commercial uses
Additional Streetscape Rules. Several additional rules would create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape. Parking garages must be “wrapped” with residential, commercial, or community facility floor area, preventing exposed parking garages and their deadening effect on the street. Streetwall continuity would be required along the upland end of waterfront blocks, so that development cannot turn its back to the adjoining neighborhood. Finally, the planting of street trees -- particularly important in a community that has lost many of its trees to Asian longhorned beetle infestation -- would be required on waterfront blocks.           Image of streetscape rules

Waterfront Park Mapping
As noted above, the rezoning proposal calls for mapping a new waterfront park extending from Bushwick Inlet to the state park site in Williamsburg. Proposed changes to the City Map would demap portions of North 9th, North 10th, North 11th, North 12th, and Quay Streets west of Kent Avenue/Franklin Street, and would map as park the resulting waterfront parcel, a total of approximately 28 acres between North 9th Street and the northern edge of Bushwick Inlet.

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