Friday, April 11, 2008

Vituperative Grand Street Rezoning Fight in Flier Form

176 Roebling Rezoning Sign

Opponents of the recently enacted Grand Street rezoning, which would limit buildings in a 12-block area around Grand Street in Williamsburg to 40 and 50 feet, have filed a lawsuit challenging the plan. The more low-tech approach to the battle is illustrated here via photos sent along by Miss Heather. One alleges that there would be no nursery school in a recent development because of the elimination of a community facility bonus (that has been widely opposed because things like art galleries have been defined as "community facilities" and allowed developers significant zoning bonuses). The other says that if a building at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Grand Street burned down, the top floor could not be rebuilt (it could, although street frontage in new buildings would be limited to forty feet, with another story that could be added after a setback). We'd love to see the TV ad version of the anti-downzoning campaign.

after a fire

[Photos courtesy of Miss Heather]

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Anonymous ccgh said...

Gee, I didn't know community facilities were outlawed under down zoned areas? That's because they are not!! You just don't get the boost in FAR. If the nefarious developers who put up these signs really wanted to "help the community with day care" or the like, they'd put the community facility in any way. But wait, that would affect their ROI.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight #1... to ensure the provision of adequate community facilities we are going to rely on the good will of the r.e. developers? Furthermore, we are going to ask them to bear a burden from which the community as a whole benefits? A modest zoning bonus is a reasonable and effective way of encouraging anything that does not yield the maximum ROI.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CCGH, even if a developer can put community facilities in a downzoned area, why on earth would they? They need enough stories above to sell as condos to even bother setting aside the ground space for something like a school. If there are no profits to be made re-developing and improving areas then there's no incentive to do it and it just won't happen. Plus why would anyone downzone a mugly neighborhood like Williamsburg? Anything new (and tall) is going to be an improvement there. It's not like it's all rows of pristine brownstones.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually they couldn't rebuild the corner building. The reduction in sqaure footage under the new zoning would only allow about 50%-60% of the bulk to be replaced. You guys really ought to do your homework.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we define terms? Who is a developer? A resident of 10, 25, or 40 years who is building something to live in? The people hurt by the downzoning are not big developers. They are people with small lots who have lost 15% - 40% of their net worth. There are people in the community who have dramatically misinformed the public about the true nature of the rezone. The rezone was rushed through in 92 days with no notice to land owners, no notice in Spanish. When I read the hate comments, I wonder why the writers don't get that they are only hurting their neighbors. The big developers they pretend are the victims have all the resources in the world to build ugly things on combined parcels and take their profits out of the community. It is the end-user neighbor, squeaking out a unit for themselves on top of four rentals that is hurt. Do these haters think it is a lie that their neighbors are losing their life-savings? Wake up, this rezone cost anyone with a single parcel 10% - 40% of their value. SIngle parcels are not owned by "developers." By taking away the ability to have a fifth floor (and don't lie that 5 floors fit under R6b, only if you have 8 foot ceilings) you make building cost more than the finished building can earn for an end-user who is NOT a professional developer.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just checked on Propertyshark, that building is on the corner of Grand and Bedford and is currently 12,160sf which works out to 3.95 FAR. Under the new zoning it can only be built to 2.0 FAR or just a little over 6,000sf. A full 50% loss. So if anything the sign does not cut off enough.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And under the old zoning, that corner building could only be built to 2.2 FAR. It was overbuilt before, and it is still overbuilt, just slightly (very slightly) more so. (And 3.95 to 2.0 is not a "full" 50%, its almost 50%, just as it was a month ago.)

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, you forgot to mention that additional FAR via CF would have averaged out to a 4.O, which is half of the new zoning. Although limited usage would apply to the property owner, the loss still remains at 50%.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well first, pretty much the entire building would have to be destroyed. Otherwise, under either zoning you could rebuild what existed before - both height and floor area. So this whole point is pretty much a scare tactic.

And yes, using CF you could push the FAR above 4.0 (actually). But the maximum *residential* FAR would still be 2.2 under the old zoning (vs. 2.0 under the new). CF does not give you 4.0+ *residential* FAR, it gives you 4.0+ *total* FAR, including the CF itself.

If the existing building is 3.95 total, the existing residential is about 3.1 (figuring that .8 of the first floor is commercial - I think its actually less than that). So under the old or new zoning, you would lose about a third of your existing *residential* FAR (the most valuable FAR). Again, in the unlikely event of the complete demolition of the existing building.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: "The rezone was rushed through in 92 days" (7:47 AM) - that's not exactly unheard of. The Fort Greene rezoning (which was similar in concept to Grand Street but covered 99 blocks) went through in almost exactly the same time frame (certified April 23, approved by Council July 25). Dyker Heights was over 160 blocks (over 12 times the size of Grand Street) and only to 30 longer to get approved.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

South Park Slope was 50 blocks in 91 days (2005).

8:17 AM  

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