Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bklink: Grand Street Rezone

The Grand Street rezoning has been passed by the City Council's Land Use Committee, clearing the way for a City Council vote, perhaps as early as this week. Building height along Grand Street would be limited to four to five stories. The quick action may kill at least two planned 10-15 story buildings at Grand & Driggs.--WGPA

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


It’s not just Grand Street; this would substantially impact approximately eleven (11) of the thirteen (13) block area indicated for rezoning, of which only five (5) are on Grand. Additionally, the proposed rezoning has a blue outline, which encompasses four blocks with the largest bold red R6B in the center of it. Although it may not have been intentionally drawn this way, it would have been reasonable to assume that the topical R6B explanation applied only to encompassed area, had you been aware to begin with. Considering it would be impossible for a non-professional to understand and have the ability to search the zoning codes volumes of esoteric material, we sought interpretation from three (3) architects in our community. Much to our dismay, we heard a litany of consequences that evoked nearly immediate despair and then outrage. The ramifications and limitations the R6B zoning would impose were horrendous. We found ourselves in utter disbelief that we and eleven (11) blocks worth of property owners and families could stand to loose 20% and 33% (wide streets) of their land usage and not even get notified. Could this be possible? Unbelievably and quite remarkably the resounding answer is, yes. No invitation, it just turned in to a private party. We promptly notified a few more owners and quickly assembled an outreach program and found that nearly no one knew, a couple of owners that knew stated that they had heard about the proposed rezoning, however, they thought it would only protect the community from these towers. One of them was lead to believe that his property value would benefit from the better zoning. No one really knew the implications or that this was on the verge of a final a vote that would affect each and every property owner. It’s believed this started with a concerned property owner which lives on Fillmore place, she was going to be faced with having a behemoth fourteen (14) story tower erected behind her back yard. She prudently rallied support and got that of Community Board One (1) and a North Side community group, which appears to be headed by Peter Gillespie. She and maybe others sought relief from this horrible situation that was looming. This small group rallied and found plenty of support against this and another tower that they later learned was planned right across the street from the one that was menacing them. Meanwhile, no one made any reasonable effort, if any, to notify all the property owners. This also holds true for all the governmental agencies that were involved with this process. After all, time was of the essence and they needed to move quickly and probably everyone overlooked the very important process of notification, or maybe they experienced little to no opposition and felt it was not necessary. As it turned out, there were so many people in our group we could have covered the gamut in just about many areas with the right expertise. We believe CB1 and the North Side Community Group is comprised of many well intended individuals that selflessly donate their time to the well being of the communities they serve. We further believe that Council Member Reyna is also well intended and found her to be genuinely surprised to find anyone in opposition to the proposed rezoning, let alone ten of us. Which were the only people available on such short notice. Apparently, many of the entities involved may have been misled as to the more intricate details and consequences of the R6B rezoning. Nonetheless, we are facing a massive loss of equity on an estimated two hundred and fifty-four (254) properties. Every effort must be made to either preserve or recover our equity from this unwarranted situation that we are now faced with. We must urge the Council to appropriately delay the scheduled vote foe March 26th, IN THE MATTER OF an application submitted by the Department of City Planning pursuant to Sections 197-c and 201 of the New York City Charter for an amendment of the Zoning Map, Section Nos. 12c, 12d, and 13b. This would allow the proper opportunity for the responsible entities to redress our issue and adopt an R6A amendment to the proposed zoning area. Or at minimum, give us the fair notification and allow us the opportunity voice our opposition. Also, be aware that our attorney has obtained a commitment from Ken Fisher, the attorney for the owners of the proposed fourteen (14) story tower, they have agreed and are prepared to immediately sign-off on an agreement that would mirror the restrictions applicable to an R6A zoning, with a six (6) story limit on the main building. Therefore, we are now in a position to get the New York City Council the assurance they needed to move forward and fix the impending problems of our community. This request will be presented at the scheduled meeting with Council Member Reyna on March 24th. We’re confident that Council Member Reyna will continue her unwavering dedication and support to our community. We need to seek relief for the property owners, their families and the residents of our community that will also be affected by this, by the widespread effects that an R6B zoning would cause everyone.

The following is a preliminary list of concerns and consequences identified to date:

1. R6B would cause an immediate cumulative devaluation of equity in possibly 254 properties, at an estimated $150-250 dollars per B.S.F, were are talking about Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Lost Property Values and Millions more in lost taxes and business to our community.
2. R6B will limit the number of affordable housing units available in new multifamily properties, which commences with the newly revised 421A abatement that takes effect on July 1st, 2008.
3. The R6B would deter construction investment, capital improvement, and reduce the number of rental and sales units. Which every one knows is the basic principal of supply and demand.
4. The R6B would also reduce the tax revenues from the smaller buildings and the lower amount of people that would not exist to patronize our local establishment, which in our area are not thriving in most instances.
5. R6B would disallow additional space and creation of community facilities for day care centers, youth centers, medical offices and other community based benefits.
6. R6B adds commercial use classes that may potentially allow uses that may not be desirable to our community. The current already allows way too many bars, what more uses will these additional use classes potentially subject our community to is unknown for now.
7. R6B will restricts owners that suffer a serious fire loss, condemnation, catastrophic loss, or any other substantial loss of property, they would only be permitted to rebuild a fraction of what they previously had in most cases.
8. R6B creates a problem for existing property owners, purchasers and the lending institutions to that issue mortgages.
9. R6B will not allow property owners to expand any additional footage they may have had before, they can forget about making an apartment for their loved one or maybe creating a supplement to their income or retirement.
10. R6B will limit the ceiling height to approximately 8’6” at best, otherwise you would have to sacrifice a whole story to accomplish a higher, more desirable ceiling height, unless you have money to burn, this would be cost prohibitive.
11. R6B would grossly limit the interest of would be property buyers to purchase the remaining dilapidated buildings and put up nice attractive buildings, instead the limitation of build would cause the creation of cheap construction, flat beige brick fronted facades, no reference is being made to the ugly duckling on South 1st, street with the bronze aluminum sliders to nowhere.
12. R6A would fix all the above noted problems and most importantly the R6A zoning will rid our community of these awful towers that do not belong here, and we would finally rid ourselves of these greedy large-scale developers that have plagued our community since the rezoning of 2005.

2:04 PM  

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