Hearing held on Williamsburg mixed-use project

Image: Courtesy Joseph Vance Architects.

Project near Domino Sugar Refinery would provide 59 market-rate units and eighteen affordable units. The City Planning Commission held public hearings on Bruce Terzano’s proposal to develop a 104,000 sq.ft. mixed-use project at the corner of Wythe Avenue and South 3rd Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The project would include a six-story building with eighteen affordable apartments and a larger six-story building with 59 market-rate apartments and ground-floor commercial space. The site, one block from the Domino Sugar Refinery, is occupied by a parking lot and plumbing supply store owned by Terzano.

Terzano proposed rezoning a half-block portion of Wythe Avenue between South 2nd and South 3rd Streets from an M3-1 manufacturing district to an M1-4/R6A mixed-use district. Terzano also requested that the City apply the Inclusionary Housing Program to the area in order to build affordable units. The Commission held separate hearings on the applications in order to comply with public notice requirements.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 opposed the proposal unless Terzano met certain conditions including changing the proposed zoning from R6A to R6B and guaranteeing that bars would not be targeted as ground-floor tenants.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz approved the rezoning, but conditioned his approval on Terzano guaranteeing that the affordable units would be built. Markowitz noted that Terzano submitted a letter agreeing to memorialize his commitment by filing a restrictive declaration after the project completed the public review process. Markowitz urged the Commission and City Council to require that the declaration be filed prior to approving the rezoning.

At the Commission’s January 5 hearing on the rezoning application, Terzano’s attorney, Kenneth K. Fisher, explained that his client intended to donate the land designated for the affordable housing building to a non-profit affordable housing developer. Fisher noted, however, that the construction of the affordable housing component would be contingent on Terzano obtaining adequate financing. Several nearby residents expressed support for the project and no one spoke in opposition.

At the Commission’s January 26 hearing on the inclusionary housing text amendment, one resident, in opposition, claimed that the proposal amounted to spot zoning and questioned why Terzano did not seek a BSA variance to build the project. Another resident asked the Commission to postpone the “spot” rezoning and authorize a comprehensive study of the neighborhood similar to the 2005 Greenpoint- Williamsburg rezoning plan.

The Commission is expected to vote on the plan at its February 16 public meeting.

CPC: Wythe Avenue Rezoning (C 070245 ZMK – rezoning) (Jan. 5, 2011); (N 070246 ZRK– text amend.) (Jan. 26, 2011) (Architect: Joseph Vance Architects).

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