CPC considers Toll Brothers’ waterfront project

Toll Brothers’ proposed development, as seen from Bond St. looking south. Image:GreenbergFarrow.

Borough President believes development along Gowanus Canal may encourage DEP to initiate clean-up effort. On January 7, 2009, the City Planning Commission heard testimony on Toll Brothers’ proposed waterfront development at 363-365 Bond Street in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. The project would be located on two full blocks along the Gowanus Canal, bounded by Carroll Street, Second Street, and Bond Street.

In order to facilitate the proposed development, Toll Brothers submitted several applications, including a rezoning of the two-block area from M2-1 to M1-4/R7-2, a text amendment for a special mixed-use district, and a special permit to modify height, setback, rear yard, and inner court regulations. Highlights of the project include two low-rise five-story buildings fronting Bond Street, a series of four-story townhouses along First and Second Streets, and two twelve-story buildings fronting the canal. The project would also contain approximately 2,000sq.ft. of community facility space, 2,000 sq.ft. of retail space, and 23,000sq.ft. of publicly accessible waterfront space along the canal. Toll Brothers expects the development to provide about 460 residential units, 30 percent of which would be affordable to families making 40 – 80 percent of area median income.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz recommended approval of the project, but did so subject to several conditions, including a reduction in building heights north of First Street to eight stories. Despite his concerns, Markowitz believed that a new development would help focus DEP’s attention on the needed clean-ups in and around the canal.

Some local residents, however, testified in opposition. One resident stated that the Commission should not allow residential development on a “grossly polluted” brownfield until the entire Gowanus Canal area was sufficiently studied and cleaned. John Hathaway, Director of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, took issue with the 12-story building heights, claiming they would be out of context with the surrounding neighborhood and would alter the views of the nearby Carroll Gardens Historic District. Hathaway supplied an alternative design that decreased building heights to eight-stories and increased heights elsewhere to retain the amount of floor area and affordable housing proposed by Toll Brothers.

The Planning Commission has until February 17, 2009 to vote on the proposal.

CPC: Hearing on 363-365 Bond Street (C 090047 ZMK – rezoning); (C 090048 ZSK – spec. perm.); (N 090049 ZRK – text amend.).

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