South Williamsburg mixed-income project approved

Proposed Wythe Avenue Rezoning.

Developer agreed to community request to exclude bar or restaurant from ground floor of mixed-income project. On March 23, 2011, the City Council approved Bruce Terzano’s proposal to develop a two-building mixed-use project at the corner of Wythe Avenue and South 3rd Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The mixed-income project will include a six-story building with 61 market rate apartments and ground floor commercial space, and a smaller six-story building with eighteen permanently affordable apartments. Terzano requested that the City rezone a portion of the block from M3-1 to M1-4/R6A and apply the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program to the project site.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 opposed the project, requesting a more restrictive M1-4/R6B zoning district and a prohibition against ground floor bars or restaurants. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz requested a guarantee that the affordable housing would be built. Neighbors in opposition argued that the proposal amounted to spot zoning and claimed that Terzano should have instead sought a BSA variance. The City Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal. 9 CityLand 26 (March 15, 2011).

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, residents in opposition reiterated their concerns. Noting his objection to Terzano’s project, Brandon Cole also expressed displeasure about the City’s recent approval of the nearby Domino Sugar project and said that the community board’s concerns were being “systematically ignored.” Residents in support of the plan noted that the area needed more family-oriented housing.

Wythe Avenue Rezoning map. Image courtesy of NYC Department of City Planning.

Local Council Member Stephen Levin asked the project’s architect, Joseph Vance, how the proposal addressed the community’s concerns. Vance responded that Terzano had agreed to record a restrictive declaration guaranteeing that the affordable housing would be built. He explained that the R6A district was chosen based on its inclusionary housing bonus, noting that an R6B designation would limit the amount of affordable units and create financial obstacles to developing the site. Terzano also agreed to exclude a bar or restaurant from the project’s ground floor.

The Subcommittee unanimously approved the proposal, and the Land Use Committee and full Council followed suit.

Council: Wythe Avenue Rezoning (March 23, 2011) (Architect: Joseph Vance Architects).

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