Today’s news:

Seek downzone on Fourth 3 years late

The Brooklyn Paper

A group of Fourth Avenue activists wants the city to rein in development along a booming strip that was upzoned just three years ago to encourage the very boom that’s going on.

The group, Fourth Avenue Neighborhood Preservation, wants to revise the 2003 zoning law that allowed construction of taller buildings between Sixth and 15th streets.

“The city should really take another look at it,” said Jerry Speier, a committee spokesman. “Aesthetically, these buildings [are] quite ugly. It would be a bad mistake to build them.”

Speier pointed to several new buildings, on Fourth Street and on 11th Street, as examples of developers gone wild.

And size is not the only issue, he said. Increased building heights mean added residents, who bring traffic, parking problems, and a strain on existing public transportation and schools.

The upzoning allows the construction of 12-story condo towers — and several are nearing completion. Speier called them “out of context with the rest of the area.”

But that, city officials said, is just the point. The 2003 upzoning of Fourth Avenue was part of a compromise that included a downzoning of low-rise residential side streets.

“Upzoning Fourth Avenue balanced [that] downzoning,” said City Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D-Park Slope), adding that the upzoning of Fourth Avenue would “increase the supply of affordable housing.”

As a result, DeBlasio said he was very much opposed to tinkering with it. “There’s already been a very, very extensive public process around this issue and it was decided,” he said.

Speier’s group held its first meeting last week. Only state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Boerum Hill) came — an indication that the group faces a difficult political struggle.

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