City Planning Hears Application for Mixed-Use Commercial, Manufacturing and Residential Development in Crown Heights

On November 15, 2023, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing for a rezoning application at  962 Pacific Street in Crown Heights. The applicant seeks to rezone the lot bound by Pacific Street to the north, Classon Avenue to the east, Dean Street to the south, and Grand Avenue to the west. The rezoning would enable the development of a mixed-use residential, commercial, and community space. The proposed site is currently a vacant lot.

The nine story building will have 150 residential units, 38 to 45 of which will be permanently affordable under mandatory inclusive housing (MIH). While a specific option for MIH was not selected, the affordable units are set at between 40 and 80 percent area median income (AMI).

The building will also include approximately 19,355 ground square feet of manufacturing space, 8,750 square feet of commercial space, and 8,530 square feet of community facility space – including an early childhood education center.

Notably, the zoning district that encompasses the project site is bordered on its east and west by two mixed-use districts. The applicant seeks to rezone to allow for the development of a building with a greater floor area ratio (FAR), and further the mixed-use context of the block in which the proposed building will sit.

On September 14, 2023, Brooklyn Community Board 8 voted 29 to three to conditionally disapprove the application. The Community Board urged the applicant to change its MIH designation, include steeper levels of affordability for the allotted affordable units, restrict ground floor and cellar use to targeted non-residential purposes, designate a third party non-profit to manage non-residential building use, and contribute to a local community organization providing anti-displacement services.

On November 1, 2023, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso conditionally approved the application. Borough President Reynoso noted that the project area is within a light manufacturing corridor, the zoning of which has been in place since 1961. This allowed for the growth of businesses in the area such as auto shops, butcher shops, and self-storage. However, in recent years, private rezonings have incrementally changed the makeup of adjoining lots to allow for more residential and mixed-use buildings. Borough President Reynoso stressed the importance of maintaining light manufacturing jobs that are accessible without obtaining an advanced degree and conditioned his approval on, among other things, restricting manufacturing uses within the project area to custom and light manufacturing.

The building’s design plan includes units that feature office space to meet the demand of residents who work from home. That office space generally does not include windows. At the public hearing, Commissioner Leah Goodridge inquired about the efficiency of this design and noted that it may not be as useful for current community residents with families that are seeking affordable housing. The applicant team responded that they have removed all studios and many one-bedroom units from the design, in favor of large two and three bedroom units to meet the demands of the neighborhood.

The City Planning Commission will vote on this application on a later date.

By: Nick Negron (Nick is a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2023.)



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