Developers in Carroll Gardens are faced with a new reality this week.
The New York City Council has unanimously passed the Carroll Gardens Zoning Text Amendment, closing the neighborhood’s “wide streets” building loophole.
For opponents of overdevelopment it means that developers looking to take advantage of the neighborhood’s signature place blocks won’t be able to build as big — but an even greater challenge remains.
“We’ve crossed one bridge but the road ahead of us is not mapped at all,” Carroll Gardens Neighbor-hood Association (CGNA) President Maria Pagano told the Courier this week.
The local civic organization has been spearheading the drive to get the entire community “downzoned” to protect it from what many view as out-of-scale development.
So far, however, the city has put the entire project on the back burner, citing everything from high demand to budget constraints.
City Councilman Bill de Blasio has been working with the CGNA to try to move the rezoning application along — even securing $50,000 so that the Department of City Planning can higher another staffer to work on the project.
“While this [passage of the Carroll Gardens Zoning Text Amendment] is a positive step forward, we must continue to focus our efforts on a neighborhood-wide down zoning,” de Blasio said. “Limiting the permitted heights and densities of new buildings will help to match future developments to the existing low-scale context of the neighborhood.”
This week’s City Council vote will have an immediate effect on developer William Stein and his efforts to construct a 48-unit condominium complex at 360 Smith Street.
The councilman’s office fully expected the Department of Buildings to issue a stop-work order on the 360 Smith Street project once the zoning text amendment went into effect.
As this paper was going to press, the DOB was preparing to send inspectors out to the site to determine how much, if any, of the building’s foundation has been installed.
If enough of the foundation is found to be incomplete and in violation of the building code, a stop-work order will then be issued and Stein will have to appeal to the Board of Standards and Appeals to have it lifted.
With the subway entrance at 2nd Place and Smith Street scheduled to close on July 28, some are concerned that the entrance will remain shut while Stein’s project remains on hold.
“If work stops for a significant period of time there’s no reason people shouldn’t have access to the subway entrance,” de Blasio spokesperson Jean Weinberg said.
Despite this week’s win, Pagano said that there will be much “tumult” ahead for concerned residents of Carroll Gardens in the weeks and months ahead.
“Who knows, but we’re going to keep our eyes on the prize and put one foot in front of the other,” she said.
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