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Projects & Proposals > Bronx > Port Morris/Bruckner Boulevard Printer Friendly Version
Port Morris/Bruckner Boulevard Rezoning - Approved!
Overview
Overview | Neighborhood Character and Land Use| Existing and Proposed Zoning
Background
Port Morris is a mixed use (light industrial, commercial and residential) neighborhood located across from Manhattan between the Harlem/East Rivers and the Major Deegan Expressway. In 1997, the City Planning Commission (CPC) established the city's first mixed-use district, known as the Port Morris Special Mixed Use District, in a five-block area along Bruckner Boulevard in Bronx Community District 1. The new zoning was a catalyst for strengthening the area’s emerging antique businesses and for revitalizing the upper floors of buildings. The success to date of that rezoning is evident in the number of residential units reactivated, renovated or converted and the new ground floor retail and exhibit spaces created.

The Department of City Planning (DCP) is now proposing to extend the Port Morris mixed use district to eleven surrounding blocks. The area to be rezoned is generally bounded by Park Avenue to the west, Willow Avenue to the east, East 134th Street to the north and the Harlem River/Harlem River Yards to the south. The existing manufacturing zoning on these blocks permits only industrial and commercial uses. The proposed mixed use zoning district would also allow for residential use and community facilities.

The area surrounding the existing Special Mixed Use District lends itself to an increase in residential and commercial activity. More than one-third of the lots in the study area are vacant or underutilized, and warehouse space is already being converted into lofts for non-industrial commercial uses. Mixed use zoning would continue to allow existing light manufacturing uses as well as new ones. And, by permitting use of vacant buildings for residential and commercial use in an area so close to Manhattan, the proposed zoning would help transform Port Morris into a true gateway to the Bronx.

Objectives
Former Industrial Building Recently Converted for Non-Industrial Uses
Former Industrial Building Recently Converted for Non-Industrial Uses
The proposed zoning would:
Build on the success of the 1997 rezoning
As a result of the special district established in 1997, approximately 42 rowhouses have been rehabilitated, 36 new residential units have been created or reactivated on upper floors of buildings, 50 lofts in the former Estey Piano Factory have already been converted and 100 more are expected by the end of 2004, and new ground floor retail and exhibit spaces have opened.

Reflect the current mixed-use character of the area
The area has historically been a mixed use neighborhood with residential, commercial, and light industrial uses, and that trend has continued as manufacturing left the area.

Bring new uses to underutilized land and buildings
Many of the lots in the study area that are vacant or underutilized (as parking lots or open storage facilities) and the buildings that are partially or entirely vacant have remained so for decades, due in part to the mismatch between market demand and the limited land uses permitted under the existing zoning.

Enable existing residences to become conforming uses
Approximately one-third (44) of the 129 lots in the proposed rezoning area are occupied by residential buildings, which do not conform with existing zoning. Non-conformance can make it difficult to obtain home improvement loans, and any residence left vacant for two years or more cannot return to residential use. The proposed zoning would eliminate this non-conformance and enable vacant units to be reactivated.

Further the citys housing initiative
Mixed-use zoning would allow residential uses to be developed as-of-right and encourage underutilized sites to be developed more productively, helping to achieve the city’s goal of increased housing production.

Focus on improved waterfront access
Although the Harlem River runs along the western edge of the rezoning area, the waterfront is inaccessible to nearby residents. New residential and mixed use development on the waterfront can open up the waterfront and, in a separate study, DCP is examining options for waterfront access and improved connections to the upland community.

Create a vibrant 24/7 neighborhood
With added residents, workers and the shops and services to support them, streets would become livelier and the sense of community would grow in Port Morris.

Public Review
On October 4, 2004, the Department of City Planning certified the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for the Port Morris/Bruckner Boulevard rezoning to begin the formal public review process. On October 28, 2004 Community Board 1 approved the application. On November 12, 2004, the Bronx Borough President issued a recommendation in favor of the rezoning. The City Planning Commission held public hearings on the application on December 8, 2004 and on January 19, 2005. On January 31, 2005 the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the rezoning and referred it to the City Council to vote on the proposal. (PDF DocumentRead the CPC Report). On March 9, 2005 the City Council adopted the zoning changes which are now in effect.


For more information on the Port Morris/Bruckner Boulevard Rezoning, please contact the Bronx Office of the Department of City Planning at (718) 220-8500.


Overview | Neighborhood Character and Land Use | Existing and Proposed Zoning

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