Last night the Department of City Planning came out to Community Board 2′s Land Use Meeting to explain the details of a proposal to reduce the number of off-street parking spaces that developers are required to build in Downtown Brooklyn. There are three main suggestions within the proposal (details of which you can see on the DCP website): reducing the required parking spaces from 40 percent of building units to 20 percent, eliminating parking requirements for affordable housing units, and increasing options for public parking in Downtown Brooklyn. DCP found only 22 percent of Downtown Brooklyn residents actually have cars, noting that at the Avalon only 88 parking spots out of 252 were used on a weekday evening. (Under the proposal, the required spaces would be reduced to 126.) Public parking, on the other hand, is at about 80 percent capacity per day. So here’s what the DCP proposes: “More flexibility to locate required accessory parking off-site, to build small underground public garages in Downtown Brooklyn and to allow accessory parking garages to be available to all residents, workers and visitors in Downtown Brooklyn.”
For the public hearing, many of the big DoBro developers urged not only to cut the parking minimums, but for those changes to be applied retroactively for developments already built. Drew Spitler of the Dermot Company said they have struggled, and spent tons of money, at 29 Flatbush to find space for 135 parking spaces, which are going in the basement, ground level, 2nd, and 3rd floor. Tom Conoscenti of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership said the proposal will “lower costs of development, incentivize affordable housing, and encourage new retail.” Reps from The Hub, Forest City Ratner, 388 Bridge and Two Trees echoed the sentiment. Many said that if the minimums were cut retroactively, current developments could free up space for retail, housing, or creative office space. Public comments on the matter will be accepted by the DCP until August. Then it’s onto the City Planning Commission (with another public hearing) and the City Council (with yet another public hearing).
Downtown Brooklyn Parking Text Amendment [NYC DCP]
Parking Minimums May Be Cut in Downtown Brooklyn [Brownstoner]
Photo via [PDF]