The Department of City Planning is now reviewing a proposal to downzone Bath Beach.
“They will look at our plan and take a look at what we want them to do,” City Councilman Vincent Gentile explained at a meeting of Community Board 11.
Gentile worked with Councilman Domenic Recchia and the Historic Districts Council to study Bath Beach’s development patterns and create a plan indicating how the neighborhood should be downzoned.
The proposal was presented to City Planning last month.
“They seemed certainly receptive but they indicated to us that they were overwhelmed with the amount of work they had to do in the different areas of Brooklyn with zoning,” Gentile told this paper.
Officials said they would review Gentile’s plan and contact his office by the end of this month to discuss it. However, if they agree to rezone Bath Beach, it would likely take months or even a year for the process to be completed.
“They wanted to do their own review of the area and that would take some time they thought given the [limited] resources available to them. The actual zoning change might have to wait until 2009,” Gentile said.
“The Bath Beach area would require an exhaustive, lot-by-lot fine-grained analysis and until we conclude several major rezonings already underway we cannot commit to a firm schedule,” said City Planning spokesperson Jennifer Torres.
The plan presented to City Planning covers all of Bath Beach. The borders are Shore Parkway, Bay Parkway, 86th Street, and 14th Avenue.
While many Brooklyn neighborhoods have sought downzoning because multistory condos were being erected next to one-story homes, that’s not the case in Bath Beach.
“They haven’t been extremely high,” Gentile explained. “The bigger problem is the density – to go from lot line to lot line without any green space around the front or the back. If you do that enough times over, you start changing the look of the community and you also add tremendous strain on the infrastructure.”
Marnee Elias-Pavia, the new district manager of Community Board 11, said rezoning would be the equivalent of a preemptive strike to prevent developers from constructing sky-high buildings adjacent to modest one-family homes.
“They’re looking to do contextual zoning to maintain what currently exists so that we don’t have out-of-character development. It’s more reflective of what is there,” she explained.
“There’s many [homes] on the Bay streets, some of the larger homes, that have beautiful architecture to them and I think it’s more to preserve the character of that neighborhood,” she added.
Downzoning Bath Beach is a continuation of previous efforts to rezone Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.
“It’s more of a continuation of the Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights rezoning,” Gentile said. “Bay Ridge was ‘05. Dyker Heights was ‘07. Our next goal is to do that for Bath Beach in ‘09.”
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