Now Boerum Hill has caught downzone fever

The push to downzone Boerum Hill has begun!

Now that other architecturally rich Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods have moved to bar tall and bulky new development, the Boerum Hill Association is calling on the city to begin the lengthy processes of capping new building heights in a 25-block area of the neighborhood just south of Downtown.

The first hurdle was passed on Tuesday night, when Community Board 2 voted overwhelmingly to ask the city to start the formal rezoning process with a study of the area.

The proposed study blocks are the last part of the Brownstone Belt — Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens — that is still unprotected by height restrictions, said Boerum Hill Association Vice President Dwight Smith.

“Because of how close Boerum Hill is to Downtown and its lack of height restrictions like the other neighborhoods, we are a target for new developers.” Smith said. “When the economy picks up, we are just sitting here, ripe for new development.”

His group favors a 50-foot cap on new building heights on the side streets and a 70-foot ceiling on main roads in the area bounded by Fourth Avenue, Pacific, Court, and Wyckoff streets, plus Smith Street between Warren Street and Atlantic Avenue.

The group’s president, Howard Kolins, added that a rezoning would preserve the quiet neighborhood and beautiful Greek revival and Italianate brownstones that were built in the 1860s and provide peace of mind today.

“This is why people live in Brooklyn, away from big city development,” said Kolins. “It’s urban but, in a very relaxed way. It’s the only sane way to live in the city.”