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Brooklyn residents have hit the rezoning trifecta.
On Wednesday, May 6, beginning at 9:30 a.m., the City Planning Commission (CPC) will hold its required hearings on the rezonings of Canarsie, Brighton Beach and Coney Island. Because of the large crowds expected, CPC has moved the location of the hearings from its Manhattan headquarters across the bridge to Brooklyn, to Klitgord Auditorium at the New York City College of Technology, 285 Jay Street.
CPC’s hearings are an intermediate stage of ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure). Hearings have already been held by the appropriate community boards (CB 18 in the case of Canarsie, and CB 13 for Brighton and Coney Island) and by the borough president.
The rezoning of Canarsie -- generally bounded on the west by Paerdegat Basin, Paerdegat Avenue North and Ralph Avenue, on the south by Canarsie Park and the Belt Parkway, on the east by Fresh Creek, and on the north, by Foster Avenue, Farragut Road and Avenue D -- seeks to protect the low-rise, low-density character of the neighborhood. Thus, areas of largely freestanding homes and semi-detached homes are being rezoned to reflect that, while areas of rowhouses with community driveways behind would be put into a zoning district that mimics that built environment.
In addition, the R5D district, a relatively new district for DCP, is proposed for certain sections of the area’s commercial strips. This zoning district allows ground floor retail (with a commercial overlay), with two stories of housing above, but could also allow four-story residential buildings.
The plan has already gotten the nod from the community board and the borough president.
If past public hearings are any indication, Brighton Beach residents will come out in force for CPC’s hearing.
At many recent meetings, the overwhelming majority of residents present opposed the city’s proposed rezoning, which they – as well as City Councilman Mike Nelson – say will lower the property values of their homes because it creates height limits where there currently are none. That will curb home expansions and prevent the sale of homes to developers for high profit.
Supporters of the rezoning plan say sky-high towers now hover over Brighton Beach’s one-family homes. There are fears that without downzoning, more multistory buildings will be erected, thereby increasing the residential population and the strain on the neighborhood’s gas, water and electric lines. CB 13 rejected the rezoning at Nelson’s request.
In Coney Island, the city wants to change the existing C7 zoning to make way for 4,500 new units of housing, retail outlets, high-rise hotels and a 27-acre indoor and outdoor amusement park.
Critics, however, charge that each component of the plan presents significant drawbacks for existing residents, current landowners and ride advocates alike.
CB 13’s stamp of approval came with no less than 20 provisos -- and the city is still in a pitched battle with Thor Equities and Joe Sitt for control of a major chunk of the amusement district. Borough President Marty Markowitz’ recommendation is expected before the month is out.
According to the Department of City Planning (DCP), the Coney Island hearing is not likely to begin before 10:30. Those who want to testify respecting any of the rezonings must fill out a speaker’s slip when they arrive at the auditorium, whose doors will open at 9 a.m. Speakers’ time is limited to three minutes.
Written testimony may also be submitted to CPC, c/o Calendar Information Office, 22 Reade Street -- Room 2 E, New York, NY 10007; it should be received by May 18.
Michèle De Meglio and Joe Maniscalco contributed to this article.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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