Land use gurus stall Crown Heights rezoning

The Grand Avenue rezoning would make way for a 9-story, 64-unit building.

Crown Heights civic gurus voted to oppose a rezoning scheme that would make way for a nine-story mixed-use building on Grand Avenue on Nov. 14

Members of Community Board Eight voted 27-to-1 to withhold support of the proposal until they get a binding agreement to dedicate a portion of the building’s 9,000-square-feet ground floor for either light industrial use or a community room, with one community  member saying the developer needs to pony up some concessions to merit the windfall in building rights. 

“What you’re doing is actually making an exchange that gives the developer significantly more than what the community is getting,” said Prospect Heights resident Peter Krashes.

The developer, Elie Pariente, is seeking a rezoning that would pave the way for construction of a building near Pacific Street, which would house 64 residential units — including 16 units of affordable housing — and the aforementioned ground-floor retail. 

The site as it currently exists.

The community board’s land-use subcommittee voted 9-to-4 in favor in the rezoning proposal on Nov. 10, before the full board switched gears and demanded the additional concession in exchange for their endorsement. 

The board’s final vote reflects the group’s ongoing efforts to upzone parts of Crown Heights in an effort to promote the creation of industrial manufacturing jobs. The proposed neighborhood rezoning, dubbed the M–Crown rezoning, would allow developers to build higher, but require them to set aside some space for light industrial use. 

The development scheme as proposed by Pariente would exceed the maximum building envelope envisioned by board members in their larger rezoning proposal, and one civic guru expressed concern that approving this application without altering the density would invite other developers to do the same. 

“You’re setting a precedent for how you’re doing this,” said Krashes.
But another land-use buff said the added density was a worthy bargaining chip to extract the added benefits from the developer.
“It’s a bigger pie,” said Gib Veconi.
And Pariente himself said the concession was no skin off his back, and agreed to set aside space for the community’s desired uses at his rezoning application winds its way through the city’s lengthy public-review process.
“At this point whatever mechanism the community board and everyone feels is necessary to make sure that this restriction gets enforced is okay by me,” the developer said.