Press Releases

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2015

Rachaele Raynoff - (212) 720-3471


Community Plan creates and preserves affordable housing, commits to new school, improved park space and local business support More than 1,200 affordable units of housing to be financed in first two years

Sept. 21, 2015 - Public review began today for the Department of City Planning's rezoning proposal to implement the East New York Community Plan, a comprehensive vision for East New York developed with community stakeholders and City agencies. The plan will spur new affordable housing, encourage economic development and introduce new community resources to support the long-term growth and sustainability of East New York. In addition to land use changes, DCP will achieve these goals by making specific and extensive public investments for neighborhood improvements. Today marks the beginning of the public review process. In the coming weeks and months, the plan for East New York will be shaped by residents, businesses and elected officials contributing to the process.

City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod said, “For the past three years, our Brooklyn office has been engaged in a planning process with the community of East New York - a vibrant neighborhood with residents from many cultures, strong community organizations and highly-committed elected officials. By bringing much-needed public investments and targeted programs to the neighborhood, this comprehensive plan will ensure that we’re not just adding housing, but we’re creating an improved, affordable and more livable East New York for longtime residents and newcomers alike.”

The East New York Community Plan will bring housing, economic development, enhanced open space and other investments to an approximately 190-block area of the East New York, Cypress Hills and Ocean Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn, in Community Districts 5 and 16. Most of the area falls within East New York and Cypress Hills between Pennsylvania Avenue to the west, Conduit Boulevard to the East, Fulton Street to the north and Pitkin Avenue to the south. A 15-block area in Ocean Hill between the Eastern Parkway Extension to the west, Van Sinderen Avenue to the east, Broadway to the north and East New York Avenue to the south would also be affected.

The rezoning will create new residential and commercial zoning districts along Atlantic Avenue, Fulton Street, Pitkin Avenue, and around Broadway Junction, to facilitate moderate-density mixed-use buildings on key corridors near transit. Through the City’s proposed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program, permanently affordable housing will be required for all new buildings with more than 10 units. The rezoning proposes increased density along major corridors, while retaining low-density contextual residential districts to preserve the two-and-three story rowhouses, detached homes and small apartment buildings along the area’s side streets. Industrial as well as residential and commercial uses will be allowed in areas that are currently home to a mix of uses such as Liberty Avenue and parts of Ocean Hill. Ultimately, more than 6,000 new apartments could be built after the proposed rezoning, over half of which are expected to be at rent levels affordable to local residents.

The NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development will prioritize the creation of more than 1,200 units of affordable housing within the next two years. On private sites that HPD subsidizes, HPD will require developers to provide apartments affordable at income levels that match those of local residents. On public sites, HPD will require developers to provide even deeper affordability levels, and all units in these developments are expected to be affordable to lower income New Yorkers.  Additionally, MIH will require that a percentage of all new housing in the East New York rezoning area is permanently affordable.

Together with the vital construction of new housing, the City is also committed to protecting existing residents of affordable housing. To combat displacement and harassment, the City has dedicated $36 million for free legal representation in housing courts to tenants facing harassment in neighborhood rezoning areas such as East New York. To lock in the affordability of currently affordable housing, HPD will expand a series of financing and tax incentive programs in East New York to maintain affordability and proactively target buildings with expiring regulatory agreements or tax benefits and work with owners to extend affordability. A new Green Preservation Program will provide financial incentives to building owners to make energy and water efficiency upgrades, bringing in savings that can be passed on to tenants through rent protections.

The City is matching this ambitious undertaking with strategic investments in services, infrastructure and community resources:

  • The School Construction Authority will construct a 1,000-seat school in District 19, East New York.
  • To provide East New York residents with better recreation spaces, the Department of Parks and Recreation will work with the community to re-envision a one-acre, underused asphalt area of City Line Park and transform it into a thriving neighborhood park for all ages. Parks will also install new, modern play equipment in Lower Highland Park. Additionally, it will repair and revitalize the basketball and handball courts in Sperandeo Brothers playground with funding from local Council Member Rafael Espinal.
  • The Department of Transportation will redevelop Atlantic Avenue as the central corridor of East New York, with safer crosswalks, a new planted median, more than 100 new street trees and new sidewalks complete with benches and bike racks to bring the north and south sides of the neighborhood together.
  • The DOT will also complete its redesign and construction of the bus waiting area in front of the Broadway Junction subway complex with bus shelters and benches to make the area safer and more convenient for transferring passengers.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection will install new curbside bioswales, which are landscape elements designed to absorb and manage storm water. In East New York, they will help reduce flooding during storm events and beautify the streetscape.

During the outreach for the East New York Plan, we heard from residents about the need for increased economic opportunities for the neighborhood. The City is focusing resources and regulations towards this objective:

  • The Department of Small Business Services will locate a satellite Workforce1 Career Center in the community, where employers can access free recruitment services to find qualified talent, and job seekers can receive a full array of employment services including job placement, skills training, career advisement and job search counseling.
  • SBS will also work with local partners to conduct a commercial district needs assessment and launch comprehensive business growth course to help business owners achieve success.
  • When HPD subsidizes new development in East New York, it will work to ensure that small businesses and community facilities are integrated into the ground floors of new buildings.
  • DCP will include an “Enhanced Commercial District” which will require active ground floor uses with glazing through zoning on retail corridors to assure a lively, vibrant streetscape conducive to neighborhood shopping.
  • To help facilitate job growth, the New York City Economic Development Corporation is working to set the stage for new businesses in East Brooklyn’s Industrial Business District through improvements to a City-owned industrial building, incentives from the Industrial Development Agency and new signs. An in-depth study of opportunities is under way by EDC to make the District more attractive for businesses and become an even greater, thriving center for jobs.

These investments build on a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-sponsored, two-year Sustainable Communities East New York study, during which DCP, along with other City agencies, held numerous workshops, forums and visioning sessions to hear directly from East New York residents on their needs and priorities. The agency also worked in close coordination with Councilmembers Rafael Espinal and Inez Barron, Community Boards 5 and 16, and local community-based organizations.  East New York has been undergoing a resurgence as a result of its solid infrastructure and prior City investment in rebuilding housing lost to private disinvestment and population loss in the 1970s and 1980s.

The community boards now have 60 days to review the proposal, after which it will go to the Borough President and the Brooklyn Borough Board, the City Planning Commission and the City Council as part of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). For further information on the zoning proposal or the ULURP time table, please visit the DCP website.