Council Modifies Massive Rezoning Plan for Brooklyn

Affordable housing incentive increased; new industrial protection zone proposed. The City Council’s Land Use Committee voted to modify the 183-block rezoning plan for the two-mile East River waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg at a May 2, 2005 hearing attended by Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, Planning Commission Chair Amanda M. Burden, and HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan.

The Land Use Committee had scheduled the vote at 11:00 a.m., but delayed the hearing until late afternoon to allow time to finalize the modifications. Opening the hearing, Committee Chair Melinda Katz explained that as a result of weekend-long negotiations the Committee had delivered one of the “most historic agreements” to come out of the Council.

Council staff estimated that 33 percent of projected residential development would be affordable, up from the 23 percent projected under the Planning Commission’s plan. Despite requests from the community and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, no mandatory requirements for affordable housing were added. The Committee, however, increased the floor area incentive for developers who build affordable housing while also decreasing the permitted floor area for projects without an affordable housing component. The permitted floor area ratio along the waterfront would be 3.7, reduced from the 4.0 FAR approved by the Planning Commission. With the construction of affordable housing, the size of a project could increase to a 4.7 FAR. The modifications lowered the affordability levels. Although no change was made to require the affordable housing to be built on site, Council staff noted that modifications to tax incentive rules would lead to on-site construction. Council staff projected that 20 percent of the housing to be constructed on public sites would be for families earning less than $18,000.

A new Industrial Business Zone, created along the Bushwick Inlet, would restrict development to industrial business uses. The Planning Department would review any variance applications filed with BSA in the IBZ area.

Open space would increase to 55 acres. Council staff noted that this additional space would come from newly committed sites, like the MTA’s 65 Commercial Street site. The City would also consider de-mapping a portion of Lorimer or Driggs Streets to increase the size of McCarren Park.

Council Member David Yassky stated that the modified proposal “will use zoning to insure affordable housing development in path-breaking ways,” adding that the City “is changing the way that we do development.” The full Land Use Committee voted to approve, sending the modifications back to the Planning Commission. The full Council is expected to vote on the modified proposal on May 11, 2005.

CPC: Greenpoint – Williamsburg Rezoning (C 040415 MMK – close portion of North 12th for Inlet Park); (C 040416 MMK – close portion of Quay Street for Inlet Park); (C 040417 MMK – close portion of North 11th for Inlet Park); (C 040418 MMK – close portion of North 9th and North 10th for Inlet Park); (C 050110(A) ZRK – text amendment); (C 050111(A) ZMK – map amendment) (March 14, 2005). CITYADMIN

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