The city’s proposed citywide rezoning has some Marine Park residents fearful that their close-knit community will become just another overcrowded neighborhood.
Dozens of locals attended a meeting of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park on April 16 to hear an urban planning specialist discuss the potential effects of the proposal.
The urban planner said that the residents could experience major changes if developers build up the neighborhood with dense projects that would be as-of-right if the proposal passes.
“Your neighborhood is ripe for development,” said Paul Graziano, adding that the rezoning will roll back height regulations that were created to protect low-rise neighborhoods like Marine Park. “It will quickly undo careful progress.”
Mayor DeBlasio’s rezoning is part of a ten-year plan aim to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing throughout the city by loosening zoning regulations for developers planning to build so-called “affordable housing.” The changes include increasing height allowances and reducing parking requirements for below-market-rent developments.
The mayor’s 117-page plan claims it would allow as-of-right projects that complement with the layout of a neighborhood.
“Through a comprehensive community based planning process, zoning changes can enable new housing and other uses to be built as-of-right, in a way that is responsive to neighborhood character and supported by appropriate investments,” the plan states.
But Graziano said the changes will allow developers to drastically alter neighborhoods.
“All of these words mean to do away or to eviscerate all the things we fought for to protect our neighborhood,” he said.
A critic said the new zoning regulations could actually drive struggling residents away from the area if developers purchase one- and two-family homes and convert them to luxury apartment buildings — all without oversight from the Department of Buildings.
“If we allow it to happen, it will change the city in a way that will be detrimental to low-income and middle-income families,” said Bob Cassara of the Brooklyn Housing Preservation Alliance. “The DOB system is easily abused by those who know how to exploit it.”
The president of the civic said he is concerned with how the rezoning could impact the neighborhood — and the rest of Brooklyn.
“People are concerned all over the borough,” said Ed Jaworski.
Residents in Bay Ridge have said the rezoning would destroy the character of neighborhoods with a small-town feel.
The plan would allow owners to add one to two stories to Bay Ridge’s commercial area and parts of its waterfront, flooding the neighborhood with development without ensuring that developers build more affordable units, according to those opposed to the proposal.
Graziano said if residents oppose the rezoning, they need to voice their concerns to their local elected officials.
“It is unfortunate that we have to be active to protect our basic rights,” he said.