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CB15 backs new rule requiring special permits for hotels in industrial areas

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Hotels in Southern Brooklyn industrial zones will need a special permit before going up if the city has its way. The Department of City Planning wants to weigh in — along with local community boards — on new hotel proposals because of worries that they could be out of place in industrial areas, according to an official from the planning agency.

“We want to make sure new hotels don’t conflict with the uses there,” said Daphne Lundi, who presented the proposed rule change at the Community Board 15 meeting on May 22.

The new rules would require extra layers of review for hotels in M1 zones, which allow for warehouses, repair shops, storage facilities and similar uses, as well as hotels.

There are two areas with M1 zones in CB15 — near the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant on Knapp Street at the corner of Avenue Y, and along McDonald Avenue.

Reasons for the proposal include balancing the rising demand for hotels due to tourism, with safety concerns about putting hotels near active factories, according to the Department of City Planning.

“People in industrial areas brings new potential for safety issues,” Lundi said.

The agency also wants to ensure that industrial areas keep their character, and don’t turn into areas with high-rise hotels lining the block like in Manhattan.

“We want to make sure these areas are treated differently,” she said.

The plan would require developers looking to build hotels in M1 zones to get a special permit from the City Planning Commission. The builder would have to convince the commission that the hotel would not change the character of the neighborhood, cause significant congestion, be unsafe, or impede access to industrial sites, among other criteria. It would also allow the local community boards to review proposed hotels and make a recommendation before the permit is issued, according to the Department of City Planning.

The department is currently gathering feedback from community boards, and there will be a vote by Council later this year. CB15 voted in favor of the proposal at the meeting, and the board’s chairwoman said it will help keep industry in the district and allow for greater community output on hotels.

“It makes sure the manufacturing we do have, that we don’t lose it,” said Theresa Scavo. “And it gives everyone a chance to weigh in on the issue.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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