After an 11th hour attempt by the developer to garner community
support for an R7a (4.0 FAR) upzone, Bill de Blasio and City
Council stuck to the most recent community compromise consensus
of support for R7b (3.0 FAR). While the outcome is technically an
upzoning of the lot, the tradeoff is that it will be built to a
contextual height of 60 foot at
the street wall and 15 foot extra on the setback with an agreement to
provide a 16 foot sideyard for 81 OP.
Fears that the developer would rather pull his application and build
under R6 than build under R7b proved to be ungrounded. Let us make no
mistake, though, the building that can be built under R7b is no small
thing. We will still see a quite large building go up and we will still
see a 35%+ increase in population and cars in this small area. This
fight was a fight to compromise and not be completely bulldozed.
The real victory that has come of this struggle is that we now have
a committment from Councilmember Bill de Blasio to sponsor a downzone
of the neighborhood and eradicate the rest of the R6 that is the bane
of Brooklyn. It is now more important than ever that the community come
out and participate in our planning workshops. We need to preserve what
we feel is most important and encourage sensible development.
Save the date: April 30th, 2006–second planning workshop.
Interesting note: A city planner involved in the Midwood
downzoning said that the R6 in Brooklyn is leftover from the City’s
need to secure federal funding by having a 5-year plan. When it became
too difficult to develop such a plan, the R6 designation was mapped
over most of the outer boroughs with the intent to remove it later when
time could be spent on planning. It’s been 30 or 40 years and still we
have R6! Communities need to do their own planning before we are