At its March 2nd meeting, the City Planning Commission voted to certify the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Contextual Rezoning. This rezoning seeks to preserve the character of 175 blocks in Greenpoint and Williamsburg by introducing height limits and introducing some areas of inclusionary (affordable) housing. The contextual rezoning was originally proposed by Councilmembers Yassky and Reyna during the course of the 2005 waterfront rezoning. Community Board 1 has been working with City Planning staff for almost three years to bring this large rezoning forward (a small area of Grand Street was rezoned separately last year).
City Planning did a couple presentations on this rezoning in the Autumn. A that time (contra Grand Street), most of the sentiment was that this rezoning didn’t go far enough in terms of limiting height or density. Yes, the a lot of the horses have left the barn on the height limit issue, but it is better late than never. (And though it took a while to get through the City Planning process, most of the “finger buildings” in the affected area were grandfathered years ago.) And as with Grand Street (and the 2005 rezoning and its follow-ups), the aim on the density side to be as neutral as possible, which means a small decrease in allowable FAR, but not a downzoning in the classic sense.
City Planning will be formally presenting the plan at CB1’s next public hearing (17 March, 6:30 p.m. at 211 Ainslie Street). Coincidentally, City Planning will be making a presentation on proposed text amendments to the City’s inclusionary housing program – the big change there is the inclusion of an affordable home-ownership option.