Friday, May 02, 2008

All You Ever Wanted To Know About The Carroll Gardens Zoning Text Amendment

photo credit : Wallyg on flickr

Below is a very important meeting notice/ fact sheet by The Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association and by C.O.R.D. on the issue of the Carroll Gardens Zoning Text Amendment.
This is an important issue for Carroll Gardens and the first step towards protecting this historically significant neighborhood. It is equally important to note that the amendment is also supported by the South Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance,

Baltic-Warren Neighbors, Cobble Hill Association, Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association, Committee for the Historical Integrity of Cobble Hill, South Brooklyn Local Development Corp, Union-Sackett Block Association, Warren Street Block.
The solidarity of those neighborhood associations illustrate the pressing nature of the issue as well as the need to work together in order to protect our communities.
Lets hope the city and our elected officials take note as well.






NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING


OFFICE OF THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT


Notice is hereby given that the Brooklyn Borough President will hold a public hearing on the following matter in the


Community Room, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street,

Brooklyn, New York 11201,
commencing at 5:30 P.M. on May 7, 2008.


CARROLL GARDENS ZONING TEXT AMENDEMENT
COMMUNITY DISTRICT 6

080345 ZRK


The Department of City Planning has submitted an application for amendments to the Zoning Resolution. The proposed text amendments would apply the narrow street zoning provisions for height, setback and floor area ratio to streets which are mapped as wide on the City map but share a similar character to other narrow streets in the area. These streets are 1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, 4th Place, and Second Street, Carroll Street and President Street between Smith Street and Hoyt Street in Brooklyn Community District 6.
What is the Place block text amendment?
A text amendment is the tool used by City Planning to correct an inappropriate zoning designation. The zoning remains the same; in this application, the text amendment simply restores the Place blocks to their original street width designation at the City Planning office. They will then match the other streets in the neighborhood.
How did this happen?
When the Place blocks were designed by Richard Butts in 1846, there were no zoning laws. He laid out the first "planned" brownstone community in Brooklyn to his own standards. He plotted blocks with lots of 100 feet, and front courtyards of 33 feet. Between the courtyards, he defined a 50-foot wide "street", consisting of 13 foot sidewalks and a 24 foot wide "carriage way" down the center of each block. This was written into the law that created this planned community.
The City of NY organized a zoning plan in 1961 and measured the streets differently. A Street was defined as the distance from property line to property line. This makes the Place block front gardens part of the street. The streets are now classified as "wide" (75 ft. or more), as in arterial streets like Court St or Atlantic Avenue as compared with "narrow" (less than 75 ft) side streets, often residential.
The Place blocks are now treated like Court St; a wide street. The problem: A wide street can be developed deeper, bigger and taller which permits out of character and out of scale designs like the Clarett development for the ILA site on Court Street. This is not appropriate, as the gardens were never intended to be included in the street measurement. Butts wrote his intended courtyard use into law; homeowners can check their deeds to find these regulations attached.

Supported by: The South Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance
Baltic-Warren Neighbors, CGNA, CORD, Cobble Hill Association, Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association, Committee for the Historical Integrity of Cobble Hill, South Brooklyn Local Development Corp, Union-Sackett Block Association, Warren Street Block


TEXT AMENDMENT FACT SHEET

HOW IS MY PROPERTY VALUE AFFECTED BY THIS CHANGE ?
The value of your home should increase. It is the law of supply and demand. By limiting the size of new buildings or additions (the "supply"), all of the existing buildings in Carroll Gardens will be worth more with respect to the rest of Brooklyn and the city. Your Front Gardens are not affected.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY HOUSE IS ALREADY LARGER THAN THE NEW ZONING LIMITS ?
Nothing. Your house is protected as it is. This happens all of the time, all over New York City, whenever City Planning makes any kind of ZONING change. Your value remains the same and in fact, will grow along with the rest of the neighborhood. This change will not require you to take any action.
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY HOUSE IS SMALLER THAN THE NEW ZONING LIMITS ?
You have some room to grow. You and all of your neighbors will have the same limits. You may still build an addition, within those limits. And, even if you cannot afford to build an addition, or plan on selling your home with the potential of an addition, you do not have to worry about someone blocking your light with a seven (7) story, 65 foot deep new structure or addition (which can happen now under the current regulations and is happening all over the neighborhood).
SO WHAT IS THE CHANGE ?
Right now, the blocks specified in this amendment are treated, zoning-wise, just like Court Street—where, for example, the developers of the ILA site are allowed according to the rules, a 70 foot, very bulky building. Our little side streets are obviously not the same as Court Street! This change would make these blocks just like the rest of the side streets in our neighborhood.
The measurement number used to govern how big and bulky the building can be is called, Floor Area Ratio, or FAR. Under the Quality Housing Program in the current zoning laws, the FAR for these few side streets is 3.0.; height limit-70 feet. Under the change, these side streets will have a FAR of 2.2., height limit-55 feet-just like all the other side streets in Carroll Gardens.
Very simply put, if your FAR is less than 2.2 now, you may build up to that point. If your FAR is at or more than 2.2 now, you cannot.
To find out your FAR, you can go this web site: www.oasisnyc.net/OASISMap.htm (or just google OASIS MAP NYC) and type in your street address or your block and lot number. Scroll down until you find the area on the page that lists your home's information. Your current FAR is there. Look and see if you are under, at or over, 2.2.
WHO DOESN'T LIKE THIS CHANGE ?
Generally, it is developers and property owners who want to convert their property into condos. They want to build as big as possible to maximize their profit. Some homeowners, who have the means and plan to build REALLY big additions may be against this as well.
WHY SHOULD I SUPPORT THIS ?
Do you like what you see happening to the buildings around you ? Without some protection, greed will forever change the character of our neighborhood.
Statistics show that neighborhoods that remain intact and maintain their size, scale and character are the ones that retain the highest possible value. We have a beautiful brownstone neighborhood here. Its integrity, heritage and visual beauty is being assaulted by these out of scale and out of character structures that are going up.
In the end, these larger buildings will only serve to lower the value of our original beauties.

If you are still unsure; talk to ask a trusted architect for professional advice.






For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You specify that the change is for aforementioned streets between Smith and Hoyt.
So what about between Court and Henry? are those 'Place' blocks already considered 'narrow'?
Why wouldn't they be included?
Between Smith/Hoyt - several are landmarked anyway.

Anonymous said...

Text amendmment will have no affect oon propeerties within 100' of Smith and Court Street!

To properly protect the places, the map needs to be expanded.

Zoning text map

Anonymous said...

I agree henry and Clinton need to get Included. Buddy Scotto Must go and all Of CG should be Landmarked

Anonymous said...

From what I've heard, this text ammendament will not restrict the builing of tall buildings in the area. If this is so, what is all this fuss about? Unless you can restrict the height to 55 feet, then what is the point? As for the post earlier, he must love government intrusion into more and more of our lives. Going the "Landmarking" route will just add another government in the channel. You will need to have a lawyer to work out the details of your every decision.