Councilmember David Greenfield, chair of the Committee on Land Use. Image credit: William Alatriste/New York City Council
City officials questioned on policy to protect New York’s industrial sector. On May 6, 2015 the City Council Committee on Land Use held an oversight hearing on industrial land use policy in New York City with a focus on protecting and encouraging the City’s industrial sector from encroaching alternative uses. In his opening remarks, Councilmember and Land Use Chair David Greenfield emphasized as ineffective the City’s policy of designating Industrial Business Zones without changing the underlying zoning to protect industry from competing commercial uses and pointed out the importance of protecting the City’s industrial sector, comprising 10 percent of the local private sector workforce, frequently made of small businesses employing forty people or less, and paying significantly higher wages than the service sector.
Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams, with Councilmember Vincent Gentile (l) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (r), announces new legislation to combat illegal home conversion. Image credit: Ernest Skinner/NYC Council
The new legislation was announced in the wake of fire fatalities. On March 8, 2015 Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams held a press conference to announce new legislation to stop illegal home conversions in New York City. The legislation is co-sponsored by Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who has previously introduced two other bills to halt illegal conversions, and is introduced at the request of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. An illegal home conversion occurs when a property owner extensively renovates a building to house multiple families without the necessary Department of Buildings permits. The legislation comes after a two-alarm fire in an illegally converted unit in East Flatbush, Brooklyn killed one person, injured five more, and displaced another sixteen.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams delivers the keynote address at the Brooklyn Affordable Housing Forum. Image credit: New York Housing Conference
The Borough President promoted his targeted plan to address Brooklyn’s housing needs. On March 10, 2015 the New York Housing Conference held the Brooklyn Affordable Housing Forum at the National Grid Auditorium in MetroTech Center. The event featured representatives from community groups, real estate development, and city agencies to address challenges and ideas for affordable housing and services in Brooklyn.
(l. to r.) Mitchell Hirth, Fran Schwartz, and Dan Egers testify on behalf of the proposed Fort Hamilton Parkway rezoning. Image credit: NYC.gov
Applicant seeks to build a six-story community facility for women’s health. On February 24, 2015 the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises approved an application by Fort Hamilton, LLC to rezone the north side of Fort Hamilton Parkway between 53rd Street and 55th Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The application rezones the area from its current R5 to an R6 district with a C1-3 overlay, and is intended to facilitate construction of a six-story women’s wellness center with partial ground floor retail. The application was approved by the City Planning Commission on January 7, 2015, following approvals from Brooklyn Community Board 12 and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the financing of 17,300 units of affordable housing. Image credit: Mayoral Photography Office
17,300 units of affordable housing were created or preserved in 2014. On January 15, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference to announce the financing of over 17,300 units of affordable housing during 2014. These units, 11,185 preserved and 6,191 of new construction, were financed as a part of the Mayor’s Housing New York plan to preserve and build 200,000 units of affordable housing by the end of Fiscal Year 2024. According to Mayor de Blasio, these units will be enough to provide housing for 42,000 New Yorkers.
The rowhouses of Chester Court get closer to designation as a historic district. Image credit: Brownstoner
Faux-Tudor 1915 development consisting of 18 buildings takes step toward designation. On November 25, 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a hearing on potential designation of Chester Court as a historic district. The proposed district comprises of 18 two-and-a-half story faux-Tudor dwellings built in 1914 and 1915 in two facing rows near Prospect Park’s eastern edge by developer Brighton Building Company. The buildings were designed by former Brooklyn Commissioner of Buildings Peter J. Collins, who was also the company’s president. Landmarks voted to add the district to its designation calendar on October 28. (read more…)