Rezonings in Bed-Stuy and Harlem Begin Review Process

Credit: The Department of City Planning

City Planning Commission certified 140-block Bed-Stuy North Rezoning and 90-block West Harlem Rezoning: included in the Brooklyn proposal is a text amendment that would also apply Citywide and to areas of the Bronx. At City Planning Commission’s review session on May 7, 2012, the Commission certified the Department of City Planning’s contextual rezoning proposal for the northern half of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The Bedford-Stuyvesant North Rezoning plan would impact a 140-block area generally bounded by Flushing Avenue to the north, Quincy Street to the south, Broadway to the east, and Classon and Franklin Avenues to the west. The proposal was requested by Brooklyn Community Board 3 and local elected officials after the City rezoned the southern half of the neighborhood in 2007. (read CityLand’s coverage here).

Bedford-Stuyvesant is a residential neighborhood characterized by late 19th- and early 20th-century rowhouses, small and medium-sized apartment buildings, and several large, tower-in-the-park NYCHA developments. According to City Planning, the area has seen an increase in the development of large community facility buildings, multi-story apartment buildings, and building additions that are out-of-character with the area’s low-scale, residential blocks. In addition, some existing commercial overlays extend too far into residential blocks, while other commercial corridors lack commercial zoning, or do not allow the configuration of commercial uses.

The majority of the rezoning area is zoned R6, with small pockets of blocks zoned R5, C8-2, and C4-5 districts. The proposal would replace the existing zoning with a variety of contextual districts – R6A, R6B, R7A, R7D – to establish building height limits to match existing development. The proposal would remove commercial overlays from inappropriate blocks, shorten the depth of commercial overlays from 150 to 100 feet, and apply new overlays to certain blocks to encourage a broader range of uses. The plan would also apply the City’s inclusionary housing program to portions of Broadway, and Myrtle, Bedford, and Marcy Avenues.

The proposal would create a new C4-4L commercial zoning district, which would be applied to the east side of Broadway. City Planning designed the new district to allow medium-density residential and commercial development along retail or transit corridors featuring elevated train tracks. The C4-4L district’s regulations would require setbacks to ensure adequate light and air to the street. On lots not fronting elevated trains, buildings would be limited to 80 feet and would require at least a 40-foot base. Buildings fronting elevated trains would be permitted to rise up to 100 feet with a minimum base height of 30 feet, after which the building must setback at least 15 feet.

The proposal also includes establishing a new enhanced commercial district along Broadway to ensure an active, pedestrian friendly streetscape. The district regulations would restrict residential uses on ground floors fronting, or within 30 feet of, Broadway. New developments or enlargements would need to meet minimum transparency requirements along their ground floors, and new curb cuts or driveways would be permitted under limited circumstances.

Citywide: Another text amendment would apply Citywide and establish new streetwall transparency requirements for the ground floors of new buildings or enlargements within C4-5D districts, as well as R7D and R9D districts mapped with a C2 commercial overlay. These requirements would apply to a section of Myrtle Avenue within the rezoning area, along portions of Fulton Street outside the rezoning area, and along Webster Avenue in Bronx Community District 7.

The Commission referred the rezoning proposal and accompanying text amendments to Brooklyn Community Board 3 for review. The Commission referred the streetwall-transparency text amendment to Bronx Community Board 7 for review.

Credit: The Department of City Planning

West Harlem: At the same May 7, 2012 review session, the Commission also certified the Department of City Planning’s West Harlem Rezoning proposal. The rezoning would impact 90 blocks generally bounded by West 155th Street to the north; West 126th Street to the south; Edgecombe, Amsterdam, and St. Nicholas Avenues to the east; and Riverside Drive to the west. The rezoning area includes the Hamilton Heights, Sugar Hill, and Manhattanville South neighborhoods.

The majority of the rezoning area is zoned R7-2 and R8, with a small southern portion zoned M1-1 for manufacturing uses. The proposal would replace much of the R7-2 and R8 zoning with contextual zoning districts – R6A, R7A, R8A – to reinforce the area’s existing scale, and replace the M1-1 district with Special Mixed Use District 15 (MX 15). The special district would pair an M1-5 district with a R7-2 district and allow as-of-right residential, commercial, and light industrial and manufacturing uses.

The Commission referred the plan to Manhattan Community Board 9 for review.

CPC: Certification of Bedford-Stuyvesant North Rezoning (N 120294 ZMK – rezoning); (N 120295 ZRK – text amend.); (N 120296 ZRY – text amend.) (May 7, 2012); Certification of West Harlem Rezoning (C 120309 ZMM – rezoning); (N 120310 ZRM – text amend.) (May 7, 2012).

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