Text amendment closes loophole in zoning resolution that allowed developers to avoid providing off-street parking in eastern Bronx. On March 25, 2010, the City Council approved the Department of City Planning’s text amendment addressing parking issues in mid-density residential districts found primarily in Westchester Square and Pelham, and near Westchester Avenue in Co-Op City within Bronx Community District 10. The amendment expands the definition of CD 10’s Lower Density Growth Management Area to include R6 and R7-1 districts for the purposes of increasing off-street parking requirements.
The Lower Density Growth Management Area in CD 10 was established as part of the Throgs Neck Rezoning in 2004 in order to protect the character of low-density neighborhoods with limited access to public transit, limited availability of off-street parking, and high rates of vehicle ownership. 1 CityLand4 (Oct. 15, 2004). The 2004 designation only included R2, R3, R4A, and R4-1 zoning districts within CD 10. Over the past several years, however, community groups and elected officials have noted that the area’s mid-density districts have experienced the same problems as the lower-density districts. In addition to expanding CD 10’s Lower Density Growth Management Area, the amendment includes revisions to the parking provisions to close a loophole allowing developers who subdivided their lots to avoid providing off-street parking.
Prior to the amendment, developers in CD 10’s R7-1 districts were able to initially decrease parking requirements by subdividing large lots and relying on a zoning provision that reduced parking requirements for small lots less than 10,000 sq.ft. in size. The developers were then able to avoid providing any off-street parking by relying on a provision that waived up to five required spaces.
The amendment increases off-street parking space requirements for residential developments on small lots within CD 10’s R7-1 districts from 30 to 50 percent of the project’s dwelling units. The amendment also limits the applicability of the parking waiver to zoning lots existing on the date of the amendment’s enactment, preventing developers from subdividing large lots to avoid parking requirements.
The City Planning Commission approved the text amendment on February 10, with Chair Amanda Burden stating the change was necessary to ensure a sufficient amount of off-street parking in the Bronx.
At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee March 9 hearing, Ryan Singer, the deputy director of Planning’s Bronx Office, spoke in support of the amendment. Singer noted that CD 10 was a remote area with a high car-ownership rate and that the amendment would help to alleviate the lack of parking and enhance the quality of life in the area.
Council Member James Vacca, whose district includes CD 10, supported the amendment, noting that it would be a positive step in addressing over-development and parking issues in the district. The Subcommittee unanimously approved the text amendment, as did the Land Use Committee and the full Council.
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: BX 10,App’d, 23-0-0
CPC: App’d, 13-0-0
Council: App’d, 46-0-5
Council: LDGMA Text Amendment (N 100134 ZRX – text amend.) (March 25, 2010).