Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Is Amanda Burden Intent on Rezoning Every Nabe in Brooklyn?

February 18th, 2009 · No Comments

Friends, when the rezoning stuff hits the fan in Canarsie, you know you are dealing with some serious stuff. Yesterday, City Planning announced plans to rezone that far off neighborhood and make some major changes to a 250 block area. The rezoning area is generally bounded Foster Avenue to the north, Fresh Creek Basin and E. 108th Street to the east, the Belt Parkway and Seaview Avenue to the south and Paerdegat Basin and Paerdegat Avenue North to the west. The existing built character is predominantly low-rise with residential blocks one- to three-stories in height and commercial or mixed use buildings along retail corridors (Rockaway Parkway, Flatlands Avenue and Avenue L) containing a mix of one- story commercial buildings and one- to four-story, mixed-use buildings with ground floor retail. A City Planning press release says the “sensitively–tailored, 250-block contextual rezoning would be the largest rezoning under the Bloomberg Administration in Brooklyn. The proposal underscores the Bloomberg Administration’s neighborhood preservation and sustainable planning strategy and would protect Canarsie’s neighborhood character and strengthen its retail corridors.”

Here’s the City Planning agitprop right from Ms. Burden’s mouth in a press release:

“The Bloomberg Administration recognizes that New York’s lower density neighborhoods are vital to the
city’s health; since 2002, 12 neighborhoods in Brooklyn covering over 1100 blocks have been rezoned by City Planning to protect and enhance lower density character,” said Commissioner Burden. “Our
strategy, which relies heavily on community consensus building, is exemplified by today’s milestone for
the 250-block rezoning of Canarsie. In some instances, the existing zoning in Canarsie has lead to out-of scale buildings and higher density development that undermines the quality of life. Our proposal will
protect Canarsie’s low-scale built form, implementing zoning that better reflects the distinctive character of this quiet, residential community.”

The fine-tuned zoning changes would:
• Preserve the existing scale and character of Canarsie’s predominantly low-rise residential blocks,
by rezoning portions of approximately 155 blocks within the rezoning area to be limited to oneand
two-family homes (R3-1, R3X, R4A and R4-1) and lowering the permitted density of new
buildings on portions of approximately 33 blocks (R4).
• Strengthen Canarsie’s commercial shopping corridors, wide streets and areas close to transit.
Existing zoning along Rockaway Parkway, Flatlands Avenue and Avenue L would be replaced with the moderate-density contextual zoning district R5D. Together with commercial ‘overlay’ zones, mixed-use buildings with stores on the ground floor and apartments above would be allowed with heights capped at four stories.
• Commercial ‘overlay’ zones (zoning districts that permit local retail and services) would be
mapped or modified to better reflect the existing commercial retail and service uses along these
shopping corridors and prevent such uses from encroaching on residential side streets.

Now, we know that when City Planning makes some things small, it makes some things very big and those will be the interesting details in this plan. And, there you have it, friends. Any day we get to write about rezoning Canarsie is a special one.

Tags: Canarsie · Rezoning