Boerum Hill downzone is movin’ on up

The city is inching ahead with a plan to rezone Boerum Hill, the last remaining neighborhood in the so-called “Brownstone belt” that has not gotten new restrictions for out-of-scale residential development.

The Department of City Planning plan would cap new building heights in a 29-block area generally bounded by Atlantic Avenue, Warren Street, Court Street and Third Avenue, preventing large structures in a quiet enclave of Greek revival and Italianate brownstones.

New buildings on side streets would be capped at 50 feet, while buildings on commercial strips such as Court and Smith streets, and Third Avenue, could rise 70 feet.

The plan would also allow building upgrades and limited “appropriate development,” according to the agency.

The rezoning has already glided through the initial stages, and is supported by lawmakers, Community Board 2, and the Boerum Hill Association, which first requested the change.

Agency officials last week briefed the civic group about the plan, which has expanded four blocks since late last year.

Members seem pleased.

“This is about being consistent with what’s already in the neighborhood,” said Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association. “If we don’t have this, people could just do what they want.”

The proposal rose from a desire to ensure that any new buildings “are consistent with what’s already in the neighborhood,” he added.

City Planning must next finalize the study area, and conduct an environmental review. The agency did not provide a time frame for the plan’s adoption, which will require approval by the Council and the mayor.

Similar plans now cover Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene, and Dyker Heights.