Friday, January 25, 2008

Early Reaction to Carroll Gardens Zoning Announcement Muted

Yesterday, City Council Member Bill de Blasio sent out an announcement that the City Planning Department had agreed to a zoning change that would redefine several Carroll Gardens streets as being "narrow," significantly changing the height of buildings that could be constructed. Through very old zoning language, an number of streets in the neighborhood are defined as wide because the front yards of homes (or the "gardens") are considered part of the public right-of-way. Therefore some streets that are very narrow in reality are considered as wide as avenues. City Planning has agreed to change the designation on First Place to Fourth Place, although the shift would leave out some narrow streets that have similar "width issues." The CORD group, which has been pushing for this and other changes gave us the following statement: "The wide street issue is an important one. We were totally taken by surprise by this announcement." Another resident we talked to said that "it's not really clear why de Blasio did this or what it really means. It's more complicated than he is making it look." One resident told us he expected it to be up to a year before the change takes effect. The Brooklyn Streets, Carroll Gardens blog, which is written by Gary Reilly, who is one of the candidates to replace Mr. de Blasio next year, described the announcement as "great news." Mr. de Blasio is holding a rally to support his non-binding resolution calling for quick action on a Carroll Gardens downzoning and an interim moratorium on developments greater than fifty feet tall.

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