Rezoning and inclusionary housing approved

South Park Slope rezoned to protect low-rise character and provide affordable housing. On November 16, 2005, the City Council rezoned 50 blocks of South Park Slope and applied the inclusionary housing program to specific R8A districts along Fourth Avenue, allowing an increase in a building’s floor area with the developers’ commitment to build affordable housing on or off site. The proposal called for the rezoning of an area generally bounded by 15th Street on the north, Fourth Avenue on the west, Prospect Park West on the east, and 24th Street and Green- Wood Cemetery on the south.

At the November 14, 2005 meeting before the Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, Planning Commission Chair Amanda M. Burden referred to the proposal as “emergency zoning,” referencing rapid out-of-character growth in the area. She was supported by a representative from the Fifth Avenue Committee, who expressed concern that a failure to rezone South Park Slope would result in a loss of sound affordable housing due to currently proposed luxury housing.

A representative for Green- Wood Cemetery testified that development must be curbed to preserve the sight corridor between the Statue of Liberty and the cemetery’s Statue of Minerva because the two figures were constructed to face each other in recognition of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Brooklyn.

Community Board 7 and the South Park Slope Community Group spoke in favor of the rezoning and urged the Council to act quickly, expressing concern that property owners will rush to obtain vested development rights. The groups attributed the deaths of two construction workers in the last six months to rushed development efforts. A Park Slope resident and structural engineer testified that the developers’ rush to pour concrete in cold weather increases the likelihood that foundations are unsafe.

Council Member Tony Avella noted that he has been working on a bill to place a moratorium on development in areas that are being evaluated for rezoning. Council Members Michael E. McMahon, Christine Quinn, and Simcha Felder suggested that they would support such a bill.

One neighborhood resident spoke in opposition of the rezoning, stating that the area was in need of additional housing, and that limiting development would increase property values and displace working families. The full Council approved the proposal at the stated meeting on November 16, 2005.

ULURP Process: The Planning Commission, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration. Community Board 7 unanimously approved. Borough President Marty Markowitz also approved subject to a reduction in FAR for R8A districts.

The Commission approved the application on October 19, 2005, noting that the rezoning respects existing structures, but allows for growth and affordable housing. Commissioners Lisa A. Gomez and Dolly Williams, both Park Slope residents, enthusiastically approved, saying that the rezoning would conserve the row-house character of the neighborhood and curb out-of-scale development.

Council: South Park Slope Rezoning (November 16, 2005); CPC: South Park Slope Rezoning (N 060053 ZRK – text amendment); (N 0060054 ZMK – map amendment) (October 19, 2005). CITYADMIN

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