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City: Ridge rezone plum for seniors, not developers

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If you build it, they will stay.

A citywide rezoning proposal will make it easier for low-income seniors to stay in Brooklyn without igniting a development boom that preservationists fear will rock Bay Ridge, according to the Department of City Planning.

The plan would allow larger buildings in the neighborhood’s medium-density zones — the Third through Fifth avenue corridors, the southern waterfront, and a portion of Ridge Boulevard. In most affected areas, developers could build five feet higher as of right, or add 15 feet on buildings that are 90 percent affordable senior housing.

Preservationists say allowing larger buildings prompts developers to demolish structures that lend the neighborhood flair, but city officials maintain there will be no disruptive gold rush, because senior housing isn’t a money-maker.

“That’s not why people tear down buildings — to create affordable and senior housing,” said Department of City Planning director Carl Weisbrod. “It’s not profitable. One of our goals is to make our neighborhoods economically diverse — to ensure that when market-rate housing comes in, people who have been living there a long time can continue to live there.”

Market forces nudging rents up are pushing seniors out of the city, but the city’s proposal will help prevent senior displacement, according to a senior advocacy group.

“Without the proposed changes from the Department of City Planning, it is very hard to find sites in communities like Bay Ridge that are large enough to support senior housing and help our seniors stay in the community,” said Claire Hilger of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.

Officials aren’t expecting a set number of new affordable senior units, because it is ultimately up to developers to run with zoning changes and create housing — but the city doesn’t expect the change to precipitate a storm of development, one official said.

“It’s really difficult to gauge, because these are the things that make [affordable housing] easier and more possible,” said city planner Howard Slatkin. “To turn it into a number — we didn’t just want to make a number up. It’s really an incremental improvement.”

The plan also calls for additional height in areas marked for the Inclusionary Housing Program — a city program that lets luxury developers build bigger in exchange for so-called “permanently affordable” units. But Bay Ridge is not zoned for inclusionary housing, so market-rate builders stand to gain very little from that proposal, Slatkin said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Posted 12:00 am, April 9, 2015
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Reader feedback

SUSAN from BAY RIDGE says:
This is a mom and pop area one of the last hold outs to big real estate developers barging into neighborhoods. This is a family area for years the houses have been handed down generation to generation .The elderly cannot afford to be forced out everyone knows everyone. The elderly will suffer the most and force them out of new york where they grew out all there lives. The mom and pop shops would suffer progress makes people suffer in new york its become the almighty dollar or nothing there is so much greed its sad pick up a bible and read about greed you wont like what it says. YOU CANT TAKE IT WITH YOU be happy the way you are and your surroundings TRY GOD NOT GREED
April 14, 2015, 2:18 pm
Amen from Bay Ridge says:
Amen to SUSAN from BAY RIDGE
April 14, 2015, 9:19 pm
am goodridge from crow hill/prospect heights says:
THANK YOU SUSAN from BAY RIDGE the neighborhood will be the 99% for seniors,veterans middle class & working class people for years to see when is come to the 1% cause nothing but high rents,high property tax, high foreclosure rates water,sewer,electric bills & MTA fares are getting worst the MTA should raise the tax increase to whealthy newcomers & banks to fund the MTA by create real local jobs for residents by raise the minimum wages to$15 per hour & create an union. so lets protect the people in bay ridge by preserve it from greed & harrassing lenders & genterication bay ridge is the 99% lookout come 6/15 where the rent laws expire lets straighten then & fight back
May 3, 2015, 8:02 pm

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