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Projects & Proposals > Brooklyn > Special Downtown Broklyn District Printer Friendly Version
Special Downtown Brooklyn District & Rezoning
 

On July 26, 2001 the City Council adopted a proposal by the Department of City Planning to establish a Special Downtown Brooklyn District and to rezone eight adjacent areas in Community District 2. The new special district establishes height limits and other bulk controls designed to permit large commercial buildings appropriate for a downtown business district to be developed as-of-right. The rezonings establish a transitional contextual buffer at the peripheries of Downtown Brooklyn to protect adjacent historic residential neighborhoods.

Special Downtown Brooklyn District
The Special Downtown Brooklyn District (SDBD) encompasses an area generally bounded by Tillary Street, Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Center, Atlantic Avenue and Clinton and Court Streets. The principal elements are:

  1. A comprehensive special district with more flexible height and setback regulations. Two existing special districts - the Special Fulton Mall District and the Special Atlantic Avenue District - are incorporated as subdistricts with their regulations maintained and updated. Where appropriate, their regulations are made applicable in the entire SDBD.

  2. Modified height and setback regulations of C6-1 zoned areas adjacent to MetroTech, Flatbush Avenue and Livingston Street, and of C6-4 zoned areas throughout Downtown Brooklyn, to allow for greater flexibility in commercial office building design appropriate in a central business district. New developments in the C6-1 District are subject either to a height limit of 210 feet or, if built as a tower, to a height limit of 495 feet; in the C6-4 District, building height is unlimited.

    On the southern side of Schermerhorn Street and east of Smith Street, Schermerhorn Street Height Limitation Areas A and B are transition areas between the commercial core and State Street. New developments in this C6-1 area are subject to a 210-foot height limit along the Smith Street frontage in Area A and a 140-foot height limit in Area B.

  3. Streetwall buildings are mandated on Montague Street, Court Street, Flatbush Avenue and Flatbush Avenue Extension to assure that future development is in context with existing buildings.

  4. Ground floor retail is required and curb cuts are restricted along the important shopping corridors of Court Street, Montague Street, Willoughby Street, Smith Street, Flatbush Avenue and Flatbush Avenue Extension. Where necessary, curb cuts are allowed by authorization from the City Planning Commission. Atlantic Avenue, Fulton Street and DeKalb Avenue already include such provisions. Ground floor fenestration is required along Smith Street between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.

  5. Street tree planting is required along certain streets to improve the visual appearance of Downtown Brooklyn and complement other efforts to improve the urban environment.


Zoning Map Changes

Eight zoning map changes complement the Special Downtown Brooklyn District. Zoning map changes to contextual designations are established for six areas along the periphery of the Special District. (view map of boundaries of revised zoning districts) These changes recognize the proximity of the business district to adjacent historic districts by prescribing appropriate bulk envelopes. The remaining two rezonings conform with existing uses. The eight areas are:

  1. A nine-block area bounded by Pierrepont, Montague and Joralemon Streets, Court and Adams Streets, Livingston Street and a line 100 feet west of Clinton Street is rezoned from C5-2 and C6-4 to C5-2A. It contains a mixture of high-density uses including office, retail, housing and community facilities such as Brooklyn Law School, St. Francis College and the Packer Collegiate Institute. This area is adjacent to the Brooklyn Heights Historic District.

    The C5-2A District regulations prescribe a contextual envelope for new development in an area adjacent to a historic district. The C5-2A District has a height limit of 185 feet on narrow streets and 210 feet on wide streets, and a maximum base height of up to 125 feet on narrow streets and 150 feet on wide streets.

  2. Nine blocks bounded by Livingston Street, Smith Street, Atlantic Avenue and a line 100 feet west of Court Street are rezoned from C6-1 to C6-2A. This area is adjacent to the Brooklyn Heights and Boerum Hill Historic Districts. It contains a mixture of uses including ground floor retail, office, residential and community facilities and parking lots.

    The C6-2A District permits a higher residential FAR (6.0 compared to 3.44 in the C6-1 District) and maintains the commercial and overall FAR of 6.0. It imposes a height limit of 120 feet and a maximum base height of up to 85 feet. These regulations prescribe a contextual envelope for new development in an area adjacent to a historic district and low-rise residential buildings.

  3. Two blocks bounded by Fulton Street, Fort Greene Place, Hanson Place and St. Felix Street are rezoned from C6-1 to R6B. This area is a part of the four-block Brooklyn Academy of Music Historic District. One of the two blocks is a triangular park and the other is a full block of three- and four-story brownstone rowhouses.

    The R6B District has a height limit of 50 feet and a maximum base height of up to 40 feet with a requirement that streetwalls of new buildings line up with adjacent structures. The rezoning from C6-1 to R6B reduces the permitted residential and community facility floor area from 3.44 and 6.50 to 2.0 for both uses and does not permit new commercial uses.

  4. Nine block frontages along State Street, generally between Smith Street and Flatbush Avenue, are rezoned from C6-1 and R6 to R6B. These block frontages contain 23 individually landmarked brownstones. The block frontages on the north side of State Street are occupied predominantly by three- and four-story brownstones and the block frontages on the south side of State Street contain brownstones and several four- to six-story apartment buildings.

    The R6B District has a height limit of 50 feet with a maximum base height of up to 40 feet with a requirement that streetwalls of new buildings line up with adjacent structures. The rezoning from C6-1 to R6B reduces the permitted residential and community facility floor area from 3.44 and 6.50 to 2.0 for both uses and does not permit new commercial uses.

  5. Five block frontages along the north side of Atlantic Avenue between Smith Street and Flatbush Avenue and two frontages along Third Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street are rezoned from C6-1 to R7A with a C2-4 overlay. The R7A/C2-4 District reflects the current bulk provisions of the existing Atlantic Avenue Special District, which modifies the floor area ratios of the underlying C6-1 District. The rezoning permits a maximum FAR of 4.0 for residential (as compared to 3.44 currently permitted); 4.0 for community facility uses (as compared to 4.8 currently permitted) and retains the 2.0 for commercial uses.

  6. Six block frontages on the south side of Atlantic Avenue from Court Street to Third Avenue are rezoned from R6 with a C2-3 overlay to a contextual R6A District with C2-4 overlay. The R6A District with the C2-4 overlay increases the permitted residential FAR slightly from 2.43 to 3.0; reduces the maximum permitted community facility FAR from 4.80 to 3.0 and retains the 2.0 commercial FAR. The rezoning requires buildings with a contextual envelope built to the street line, which better reflects the existing built form and the objectives of the underlying Special Atlantic Avenue District.

  7. The two super blocks bounded by Tillary and Johnson Streets, Adams Street, Joralemon Street and Cadman Plaza West, are Brooklyn's "Civic Center" and contains Columbus Park, Brooklyn Borough Hall and the New York State Supreme Court building. The rezoning from R7-1 to C6-1 reflects the existing office and court house uses. The floor area ratio for residential uses remain at 3.44, community facility FARs increase from 4.80 to 6.50 and the commercial FAR is 6.00. The height limit for any new development is either 210 feet or 495 feet as part of the SDBD.

  8. Two blocks bounded by DeKalb Avenue on the north, Ashland Place on the east, Fulton Street on the south and Hudson Avenue on the west are rezoned from M1-6 to C6-4. These two blocks contain offices, a theater, retail and housing. There are no manufacturing uses on these blocks.

    The C6-4 District has the same maximum FAR of 10.0 as the M1-6 District, and is an extension of the C6-4 District mapped immediately to the south. C6-4 Districts do not permit new manufacturing uses, but permit residential uses and a wider array of commercial and retail uses.

Zoning Text Amendment concerning Special Downtown Brooklyn District and Rezoning in PDF Format


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