Upzone shot down: Sheepshead Bay community board pans Mayor’s plan

Ready to run: Seven-year Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo has thrown her hat into the ring for the race to replace Councilman Michael Nelson.
Courtesy of Theresa Scavo

They tore down the housing proposal.

Community Board 15 unanimously shot down Mayor DeBlasio’s plan to let developers build up Sheepshead Bay and the city with the hopes they’ll also make low-priced housing. City officials made the case for the citywide rezone, which Mayor Tall is calling “Zoning for Quality and Affordability,” during the board’s Oct. 27 meeting, but civic leaders sent them packing, because even Hizzoner’s liaisons apparently couldn’t comprehend the convoluted plan, the board’s leader said.

“They didn’t have any answers,” said chairwoman Theresa Scavo. “None of it was made clear. None of our questions were answered.”

Instead of providing detailed information, city representatives repeated a sales pitch, another attendee said.

“I think selling it is the right word — they’re really trying to sell it,” said Manhattan Beach Community Group president Judy Baron, who was present but is not a community board member. “You can’t say they faked their answers — they just didn’t have any.”

The plan’s potential impact irked locals.

It would let developers tack five feet onto buildings along commercial strips including Ocean Parkway, Ocean Avenue, Coney Island Avenue, Kings Highway, and Avenue U — and up to two stories on structures with below-market-rate and senior housing, according to information available on the city planning website.

In some cases, developers could also erect bulkier structures, reducing green space where rain water can soak into the ground and further tax the borough’s overburdened sewer systems, another critic said.

“This proposal is going to take away some of the yards that should have been around buildings,” said board member Ed Jaworski. “You’re going to have a lot more runoff.”

The plan also relaxes off-street parking requirements for new below-market-rate and senior housing developments — something board members fear will make it even tougher to find parking in the car-heavy ’hood.

Generally, the proposal is just too far-reaching, and its consequences won’t be apparent until well after DeBlasio has left office, Baron said.

“You can’t make a plan that goes for the entire city,” she said. “The way they’ve done it, to do a plan that blankets the entire city and changes zoning, is wrong.”

The community board’s vote is only advisory, and officials expect City Council to vote on the proposal in early 2016.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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