Sheepshead Bay residents refuse to park their complaints about a controversial rezoning plan.
A city proposal waives parking requirements for new senior and below-market-rate housing in Sheepshead Bay, but locals say they have enough trouble finding a place to park as it is.
“You expect to park in front of your house and you can’t,” said Ed Jaworski, president of the Marine-Madison-Homecrest Civic Association.
Mayor DeBlasio aims to create 200,000 below-market-rate apartments citywide over 10 years under the plan he calls “Zoning for Quality and Affordability.”
If the city adopts the proposal — expected to go before the Council early next year — Sheepshead Bay developers could build one to two stories higher than zoning currently permits as long as they add below-market-rate apartments or senior housing. In most cases, the city requires developers who build new buildings to also create off-street parking, but the proposal would largely scrub that requirement between Bedford and McDonald avenues.
City planners dispute the notion relaxed parking requirements will create an additional parking burden, because seniors and low-income folks the city wants to populate new developments don’t own cars at the rate younger, more affluent people do, a Department of City Planning spokesman said.
“Our data found that lower-income households own fewer cars, especially in transit-served areas – and low‐income seniors own extremely few,” said spokesman Joe Marvilli, citing census and state Department of Motor Vehicles data. “For example, at affordable senior housing facilities, our data showed ownership rates of five percent within the proposed transit zone and, generally, 10 percent outside.”
Relaxing the parking mandate would create more realistic parking requirements, a city planning honcho said.
“What we’re trying to do is have our parking requirements more accurately reflect actual car ownership in these populations,” said Frank Ruchala, deputy director of city planning’s zoning division.
Requiring parking creates additional construction costs for developers — $30,000 to $50,000 per space, he said. Landlords try to recoup the loss by charging for spaces, but the off-street lots often remain empty, because residents opt for free, on-street parking instead, Ruchala said.
“I’ve talked to providers of affordable housing who say they have parking spaces going empty because tenants who own cars park on the street rather than pay $200 a month for a parking space,” he said.
Still, the Department of City Planning is taking locals’ gripes seriously, a department spokesman said.
“We’re listening to them about what they like and they don’t like about the proposals,” said spokesman Joe Marvilli. “It’s all part of the process and it is something we’re definitely going to be taking into consideration.”
Community Board 15’s land-use committee disapproved the plan 17-1 last week. The full board will render an opinion on the proposal on Oct. 27.
Community Board 15 general board meeting at Kingsborough Community College Faculty Dining Room [2001 Oriental Blvd. room U112, (718) 332-3008, BKLCB