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NY1 reports that the City Planning Commission approved its proposed Coney Island rezoning this morning in an almost unanimous vote (one new Commissioner abstained).   The plan calls for development of hotels and housing (4,500 market-rate units and 900 affordable units), “entertainment retail,” and more City control of the amusement area, as part of the boardwalk would become mapped parkland.

Issues remain with the City’s development plans, however.  Developer Thor Equities still owns much of the land within the proposed rezoning area, and the City needs State approval to alienate parkland before it can arrange the land-swap deal it hopes to use to purchase Thor’s land.

The rezoning will go before City Council for final approval within 50 days.

Hope everyone had a restful holiday! Here are some stories we’ve been following recently:

  • Mayor Bloomberg said that the City will not provide any more public subsidies for Atlantic Yards (above the $230 million already pledged). (Brooklyn Paper)
  • Mayor Mike also allegedly removed Brooklyn Community Board 1 District Manager Gerry Esposito from an event for planning a protest of community board budget cuts. (Greenpoint Gazette)
  • “This is a good time for the city to rethink its approach to both community planning and citywide planning, starting with the real needs and priorities of its residents and workers instead of the amount of floor area that can be built.” (Tom Angotti explores “Zoning Without Planning” in Gotham Gazette)

Apologies for the late notice on this one, but this meeting was just brought to our attention this morning — Tonight the Department of City Planning will present its preliminary plans for the West Harlem Special District.

Proposed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in 2007, the special district is based in part on Manhattan Community Board 9′s 197-a plan (which was our Community-Based Plan of the Month in April).

According to Stringer, the Special District will include:

  • Contextual Zoning, with density and height limits, to preserve the physical character of the neighborhoods and quell displacement pressures.
  • Community Facility reforms, which would stop grossly out-of-scale developments and discourage dorms and university uses in residential areas.
  • Inclusionary Housing in certain areas, to channel new development toward the creation of housing that is affordable to West Harlem residents.
  • Density bonuses for “business incubators,” to provide incentives for developers to provide affordably priced retail or commercial space to local businesses.
  • Anti-Harassment Provisions and Demolition Restrictions, which would penalize property owners who harass their tenants, and discourage the demolition of occupied sound housing.
  • Special Off-street Parking Regulations, to ensure that parking in the area serves the needs of residents and encourages transit-based development instead of causing traffic congestion and pollution.

Tonight’s meeting is hosted by Manhattan CB9 and will take place at 6:30 pm at Broadway Housing, 583 Riverside Dr.@ 135th Street.

If you are interested in community advocacy on this issue, contact the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization (CPO) at hh-westharlemcpo@msn.com.

Williamsburg Blogger Brooklyn 11211 wishes North Brooklyn a “Happy Rezoning Day” today, on the fourth anniversary of the passage of a massive rezoning of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint waterfronts.  The Department of City Planning supposedly based this rezoning on the neighborhoods’ 197-plans; however, the community ended up with much more development than it bargained for.  11211 writes,

“Here in North Brooklyn, the last four years have brought construction – a hell of a lot of construction. In Community Board 1, over 1,000 major construction projects have been filed with DOB since May, 2005. Thousands of new housing units are at some point in the pipeline – planned, filed, under construction or occupied. (And despite a global economic meltdown or two, construction in North Brooklyn has not noticeably abated.)
In exchange for all of this new construction, the community was promised a lot. And while the new construction continues full bore, most of the promised benefits of the rezoning have yet to be realized.”

The post goes on to analyze the results of the rezoning in regards to affordable housing, open space, manufacturing retention, and follow-up rezonings in the upland areas.  Read the details here.

The post continues, “Things are arguably worse on the open space front. A lot of new open space was proposed in the rezoning and in the points of agreement negotiated between the City Council and the Bloomberg administration, and almost nothing has been built.”

To address this, North Brooklyn advocacy organizations (and Community-Based Planning Task Force members) Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) are sponsoring Where’s My Park? Day on Saturday (it’s “It’s My Park! Day in the rest of the city). NAG says, “Bring your kids and your grandmas to East River Park (N 8th and Kent) at 12:30 to make some pro-park crafts and picket signs, and then join us at 2:30 as we march down past several of the promised parks’ locked gates. The day will end with a block party full of music, games, refreshments, and community… in a parking lot.”

The Maysels Cinema in Harlem will be screening  “Rezoning Harlem” this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  This documentary film explores the recently-approved rezoning of 125th Street. Directed by students in Hunter College’s graduate planning program, it follows the opposition to the City’s plan through their struggle to advocate for affordable housing, and against the displacement of viable local businesses and the loss of a one of the world’s most famed African-American neighborhoods.

Maysels presents the film along with three panel discussions:

- Wednesday’s “Community Night Forum” features Monique Indigo Washington of  the Coalition to Save Harlem (pictured above), and Michael Henry Adams, an historian, preservationist, and author of “Harlem: Lost and Found.”

-Thursday’s “Next Steps: Making Community-Based Planning a Reality” features Eve Baron, Director of the Municipal Art Society Planning Center; City Council Member Tony Avella; and Mercedes Narciso, formerly of the Pratt Center for Community Development.

-Friday’s “Housing Issues Workshop” features Julius Tajidin.

All three screenings begin at 7:30 pm at the Maysels Cinema, 343 Malcolm X Blvd / Lenox Ave (Between 127th and 128th Streets).  The directors, Natasha Florentino & Tamara Gubernat, will be present for each event.

Tomorrow morning, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the Eastern Rail Yards Rezoning.  Task Force member organization Friends of the High Line is encouraging people to come out and speak in favor of preserving the High Line in the proposed development.  The Council has now changed both the date and time of this hearing, so we wanted to make sure to get the updated information out:

City Council Hearing on Eastern Rail Yards Rezoning
Tuesday, March 31, 9:30 AM
NEW LOCATION: 250 Broadway (between Park Place and Murray Street)
16th Floor Conference Room

The Fifth Avenue Committee, aTask Force member organization focused on South Brooklyn, is hosting two meetings this week:

Tuesday, March 24:  Demystifying Zoning: Gowanus — Catering specifically to Gowanus residents, this workshop will explore zoning basics as well as the Gowanus rezoning map specifically.   There will also be group exercises to assess – building by building, zone by zone – which structures in the Gowanus framework face the greatest threat from demolition under the City’s current plan.

(For more information about the Gowanus rezoning, check out the Municipal Art Society’s recent post: A Great Place to Work, But to Live?)

Wednesday, March 25: Accountable Development Working Group Meeting – This group meets monthly to discuss accountable development issues in Brooklyn.  This meeting will focus on the Right to the City (RTTC) curriculum.  Fifth Avenue Committee is a member of RTTC, a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations which seeks to halt the displacement of low-income people from their historic urban neighborhoods.  The curriculum is meant as an introduction to RTTC as well as a spring board for discussion and action around issues of displacement.

Both meetings will be held in English and Spanish at the FAC office, 621 DeGraw Street btw. 3rd and 4th Avenues.

For more information or to RSVP, Contact Davel Powell at (718) 237-2017, ext 148 or dpowell@fifthave.org.

Just a quick note to congratulate the Stable Brooklyn Community Group — the creators of our very first Community-Based Plan of the Month recently had a rezoning based on their plan approved by the City Council!  Here’s a final map from the Department of City Planning:

The City Planning Commission certified its planned rezoning of 180 blocks in Flatbush, Brooklyn, signaling the start of the public review process.

“Flatbush is one of the city’s most architecturally diverse and breathtakingly beautiful residential neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Amanda M. Burden, “The historic 20th century Victorian architecture, generous lawns and mature trees as well as the diversity of its apartment building and active retail character are what make this area so special.”

Flatbush Gardner has more details, including maps and an analysis of how the rezoning plan intends to meet the community’s goals, articulated during the Imagine Flatbush 2030 community visioning process.

Apologies for the late notice, but we were just alerted to the fact that there is a town hall meeting tonight regarding the Broadway Triangle rezoning, at 7pm at the P.S. 250 Auditorium at 108 Montrose Avenue, Brooklyn.  Here’s the flyer from the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition:

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

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