Council down-zones over strong opposition

Builders lobbied for no-votes saying down-zonings were aimed at impeding new minority residents. On July 27, 2005, the City Council approved Council Member Andrew J. Lanza’s proposed down-zoning plans for the Eltingville, Tottenville and Great Kills sections of Staten Island; actions which had faced significant opposition at the Planning Commission. See 2 CityLand 89 (July 15, 2005).

The Council down-zoned 12 blocks in Eltingville to allow only single-family homes as-of-right. The Tottenville rezoning covered 65 blocks, altering the zoning to restrict a portion to single-family homes and require large lots for two-family homes. A third rezoning of Great Kills and Tottenville down-zoned 235 lots, eliminating construction of new large apartment buildings.

At the Land Use Committee’s vote on July 26, Council Member Bill Perkins stated that Staten Island builders had lobbied for his vote, arguing for Perkins to be the opposition voice because the down-zonings were seeking to obstruct minorities from moving to the borough by eliminating affordable rental apartments. Calling the builders’ arguments disingenuous, Perkins voted to approve all three down-zonings. In Council Member Michael McMahon’s opinion, “profit driven builders had taken things to a level of greed unseen before” in their opposition testimony before the Council. McMahon approved all three down-zonings, noting that he was “sending a message to the builders.”

The Land Use Committee unanimously approved, sending it to the full Council, which approved by a vote of 44 in the affirmative with seven Council members excused from the vote.

Council: Tottenville Rezoning (July 27, 2005); Council: Eltingville Rezoning (July 27, 2005); Council: Great Kills/Tottenville Rezoning (July 27, 2005); CPC: Tottenville Rezoning (C 050014 ZMR – map amendment) (June 8, 2005); CPC: Eltingville Rezoning (C 050015 ZMR – map amendment) (June 8, 2005); CPC: Great Kills/Tottenville Rezoning (C 050143 ZMR) (June 22, 2005). CITYADMIN

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