Rezoning for Culver El housing project modified

Council modified plan in order to retain manufacturing zoning and to prevent residential use on block occupied by department store. On October 13, 2010, the City Council modified the Department of City Planning and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Culver El Proposal in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The proposal rezoned seven blocks historically used for manufacturing and will permit the Southern Brooklyn Community Organization (SBCO) to build a 68-unit affordable housing development on two City-owned lots formerly occupied by the elevated BMT Culver Shuttle line.

The rezoning area is generally bounded by 36th and 39th Streets to the north and south, Old New Utrecht Road and 14th Avenue to the east, and 12th Avenue to the west. SBCO will build seventeen four-story buildings along the south side of 37th Street between 12th Avenue and Old New Utrecht Road to create the affordable housing under HPD’s New Foundations homeowner program. The units would have a fifteen- year resale restriction.

Planning proposed replacing the area’s M1-2 and M2-1 zoning districts with mixed-use M1-2/ R6A and M1-2/R6B districts. It also proposed rezoning a portion of the block between 36th and 37th Streets and 13th and 12th Avenues from M1-2 to R5 and applying a C4-2A district to the entire block to the east that is occupied by a Bergament department store.

Local Council Member Brad Lander and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz generally supported the rezoning and the proposed housing project, but also expressed concerns. Both officials believed that the affordable units should be created under the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program to ensure permanent affordability. Lander also suggested that the Bergament block be removed from the rezoning or rezoned to C8-2, which prohibits residential development.

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal without modification. 7 CityLand 120 (Sept. 15, 2010).

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, Lander claimed that rezoning Bergament’s block to C4-2A would permit a large residential development without an affordable housing component. He said that applying a C8-2 district would recognize the existing use, but not permit as-of-right, market- rate housing. Lander also said that two buildings on the corners of 38th Street and 14th Avenue should retain their manufacturing zoning, and he again suggested that SBCO lengthen the affordability term for the housing project.

Lander said that as a matter of policy, the City should require affordable housing whenever it rezones a manufacturing district for residential use. He also said the City should require permanently affordable housing when disposing of any City-owned property.

Attorney Laurence A. Levy, representing the owner of the Bergament lot, noted that the City’s stated goal for the rezoning was to create housing and that changing the lot’s proposed zoning from C4-2A to C8-2 would undermine that goal and deprive the owner of the best use of the land. Levy said the owner was willing to sign a restrictive declaration ensuring that any residential development would include at least a twenty percent affordable housing component. The hearing was closed without a vote.

When the Subcommittee reconvened, Chair Mark Weprin announced that the proposal had been modified. The Bergament block would now be rezoned to C8-2, and the two lots on the eastern edge of 38th Street would retain their manufacturing designations. In addition, SBCO agreed to increase the affordable housing project’s affordability term from fifteen to 30 years

The Subcommittee, Land Use Committee, and full Council approved the proposal after the City Planning Commission reviewed the modifications.

Review Process
Lead Agency: CPC, Neg. Dec.
Comm. Bd.: BK 12, 32-2-2
Boro. Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council: App’d, 48-0-0

Council: Culver El (Oct. 13, 2010).


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.