City Planning Considers Rezoning in the Bronx to Allow Nine Story Residential Building

Rendering of the proposed nine-story building at 2712 Williamsbridge Road in the Bronx. Image Credit: CPC/OCV Architects

City Planning staff recommend that the Commission adopt Borough President recommendation to reduce the size of the rezoning area. On December 19, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on a proposed redevelopment at 2712 Williamsbridge Road in the Allerton section of the Bronx. The applicant, 2712 Radcliff Yates Realty LLC, seeks to rezone to residential zoning with a commercial overlay a portion of an area comprised of seven lots bounded by Williamsbridge Road, Colden Avenue and Boston Road. The lots are currently zoned for commercial uses. The rezoning would facilitate the development of a new nine-story mixed-use building on the applicant’s lots.

The project was presented by Richard Lobel of Sheldon Lobel, and Richard Vitto of OCV Architects.

The site for the proposed project is comprised of two zoning lots that total approximately 8,700 square feet. The site now supports a one story commercial building facing Williamsbridge Road and a parking garage facing Colden Avenue. The proposed rezoning would affect these two lots as well as five other lots with existing structures, a majority of which violate the current zoning, including a 40-unit, six-story residential building on the southern portion of the block.

To build the nine-story residential building with a ground floor commercial space, the applicant proposes that these seven lots be rezoned from their current commercial zoning to mix of residential and commercial zoning with a higher residential FAR. The proposed rezoning, according to the applicant, will not only facilitate the development of the applicant’s new building, but also bring the six-story residential building closer to compliance and bring four one- and two-family buildings into full compliance with the new zoning.

The applicant’s building would have an office on the first floor to be used by the applicant’s business, and residential units on the remaining eight floors. The building would feature a cellar-level parking garage with 16 parking spaces and bicycle parking, terraces on the first and ninth floors, and a gym on the ninth floor. In total, the building would have approximately 30 residential units, with an expected eight or nine set aside as affordable units pursuant to the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. The building would have 18 one-bedroom, seven two-bedroom, and five three-bedroom units.

Bronx Community Board 11 voted to disapprove the application, with 20 against, 14 in favor, and two abstaining.

On December 13, 2018, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. recommended approval for the project with several conditions. Among the conditions were that the four one- and two-family buildings be excluded from the rezoning area. The Bronx has a very small percentage of homeowners and rezoning these lots to the proposed residential zoning would potentially facilitate sale and redevelopment of these lots to apartment buildings. Borough President Diaz also recommended a decrease in the initially proposed number of units from 35 to 30, in exchange for a higher percentage of two and three bedroom units. The applicants agreed to add more two and three bedroom units.

During the public hearing, City Planning Commissioner Anna Levin applauded the applicant team for acceding to Borough President Diaz’s recommendation for a lower number of units in exchange for an increased number of multi-bedroom units. Commissioner Levin asked whether the applicant would also agree with excluding the four one- and two-family buildings from the proposed rezoning area. The City Planning Commission staff found exclusion of the properties to be appropriate upon reviewing the Borough President’s recommendation. The applicant team responded that as those properties are not owned by the applicant, the applicant had no position on this matter.

Commissioner Ortiz asked the applicants to comment on the proposed building’s ground-level retaining wall. The applicant’s rendering showed an approximately 50-feet stretch of a 30-inch high concrete wall that Commissioner Ortiz said would not be conducive to pedestrian traffic in a residential area. The applicant team responded that the retaining wall was necessary to provide the parking garage which would not fully fit underground. The applicant team agreed to explore measures to make the area more-pedestrian friendly, such as by adding plantings and exposing the parking ramp.

Grace Lovaglio, a member of the Neighborhood Advisory Board that reports to the Department of Youth and Community Development, spoke in opposition of the proposed project on behalf of the Allerton International Merchants Association, the Allerton Barnes Block Association, and the Bronx Park East Community Association. Lovaglio argued that a rezoning would increase the potential for other similar developments in the area, bring an increase in residents without the necessary parking to accommodate them, and overcrowd the schools.

Patricia Charles spoke on behalf of Community Board 11 in opposition of the project. Charles echoed many of Lovaglio’s arguments, particularly voicing concerns over the effect of the building on an already congested area.

City Planning closed the hearing with no other members of the public testifying. City Planning will vote on this application at a later date.


By: Viktoriya Gray (Viktoriya is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018).


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