Affordable Housing Fort Greene

City Planning is holding a public information session in Clinton Hill Monday, at the request of locals, to let people know about Mayor de Blasio’s plans for zoning and affordable housing. The formal public review process for the three proposals that comprise the plan kicked off Monday.

Two of the proposals, mandatory inclusionary housing and a text change amendment of the zoning code, will affect every neighborhood in the city, and require consideration of all community boards. The first requires developers to include 25 to 30 percent affordable housing in exchange for a rezoning. The second would allow slight increases in height and density in certain areas to facilitate senior affordable housing. (more…)

Gentrification East New York

Following the release Monday of a 13-page report critiquing Mayor de Blasio’s East New York rezoning plan, local coalition Real Affordablility for All held a rally in Downtown Brooklyn — a “hyper-gentrified” neighborhood, according to the organization’s press release.

After the rally, Real Affordability members and leaders headed to Lower Manhattan, where they disrupted the City Planning Commission’s hearing regarding the the rezoning process for East New York. The event’s timing purposefully coincided with today’s beginning of the public review process for the rezoning of East New York.



Last year, Mayor de Blasio spoke in general terms of plans to change zoning rules to create more affordable housing in Brooklyn and beyond. Monday, the exact wording of these three proposals will be revealed, and Brooklynites will have the chance to comment on them.

At issue is the character of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and the future of East New York — and, of course, the building of more affordable housing by private developers.

On Monday, City Planning will “certify” the proposals, which are complex and have many parts, kicking off the official and formal public review process known as ULURP, or Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

The mayor is asking for three zoning-related changes: (more…)

Brooklyn Community Board meetings September 15

Summer recess is over and community boards are back in session this month, with many of them welcoming new members for the year. At least one board, Community Board 2, plans to discuss Mayor de Blasio-led proposals for changes to zoning and affordable housing.

Brooklynites should be hearing a lot more about these proposals soon, as several are scheduled to kick off their formal public review process this month.

Here are a few boards meeting the week of September 7. (more…)


A developer of a triangular-shaped plot at 141 Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn — right across from City Point — is offering to make 30 percent of the units in the building affordable housing in exchange for a rezoning, The Real Deal reported. The Midtown-based firm, Savanna, initially planned to build a glassy, 30-story tower with ground-floor retail and a maximum of 120,000 square feet under current zoning, as we reported last year.

A rezoning would let Savanna put up a 44 story tower with 310,000 square feet of space, more than doubling the size of the building. It would set aside 81 of 270 units for affordable housing. The developer previously said it would seek a rezoning, as we reported at the time, but the 30 percent figure is new. (more…)


Mayor Bill de Blasio is about to announce a major initiative requiring developers to build affordable housing in exchange for exceptions to zoning requirements, according to a story in Capital NY. This will have a significant impact on affordable housing and development in Brooklyn — including several developments already in the works.

What This Means
The new plan is a type of “mandatory inclusionary zoning” that applies only to private rezonings, aka a “spot rezoning.” The new requirement will mean that any time a developer asks the city to approve an exemption to the existing zoning for residential construction on a specific site — as developer Fortis is currently requesting for its planned towers at Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill — 25 to 30 percent of their units must be set aside for affordable housing.

In many ways, the plan is codifying — and standardizing — a practice the de Blasio administration has already been aggressively pursuing on an individual, case-by-case basis. (more…)


After years of drama and controversy, the rent-regulated apartments at 406 Albee Square downtown stand empty, ready for the bulldozers. They were acquired by the city as part of a bigger package for $40,000,000 and will be turned into a park, as per the downtown rezoning plan established over a decade ago, in 2004.

The tenements, which have seen more than 100 years of humanity pass through its doors, occupy a clearing in the middle of high-rise development downtown. Directly across the street is the City Point mega-project, where towers as high as 60 stories will eventually be built. Behind it, on the next block over, the 35-story Ava DoBro is under construction at 100 Willoughby Street. (more…)


After more than a year of controversy and drama, the full board of Community Board 9 voted yes on asking City Planning to conduct a study of zoning in the area, which covers Prospect Lefferts Gardens as well as some blocks in the southern part of Crown Heights and a bit of East Flatbush.

The supporters of the study want City Planning to downzone the area so tall towers such as 626 Flatbush, pictured under construction above, are not allowed, while also allowing for the construction of mixed-income subsidized housing of a modest height in some areas. The neighborhood has been roiled by rising rents and a building boom, as we have detailed in countless stories. (more…)


After fervent opposition, the city has dialed back a plan to change zoning codes to allow for higher buildings in neighborhoods across the city.

In a letter dated May 15, Carl Weisbrod, chair of the NYC Planning Commission, said the city was backing off by 10 feet on proposed height increases it sought as part of the mayor’s citywide “Zoning for Quality and Affordability Plan.” (more…)


The formal land-use review process for the mayor’s proposed rezoning of East New York will kick off in September, a spokesman for the mayor told us. The City will “certify the proposal” September 8, which officially starts the process.

The City had previously said it would start the official process in “the spring,” meaning now, not the fall. The local community board and elected officials had requested more time to review the proposal. (more…)

nassau brewery building franklin avenue and bergen crown heights

In a major about-face, Community Board 8 wants to rezone an industrial area in northern Crown Heights to allow residential buildings. It would allow taller buildings and require subsidies for the housing, to make it affordable to those earning the median in the area.

The board voted yes Thursday to send a request to City Planning to study the area for a rezoning, DNAinfo reported. Readers may recall that a similar request from neighboring Community Board 9 has been bogged down in controversy for more than a year.

This is a major change of direction for the board, which a few years ago rejected an attempt by a group of artists to create artist-owned live-work housing in a building in the area. The board wanted to keep the area industrial to limit gentrification in the area. (more…)


Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan won’t bring affordable units to low-income areas but it will destroy the character of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn, said housing experts — including real estate execs — in a Wall Street Journal article yesterday. Here are the deets:

*In low-income areas such as East New York, no one is building market-rate housing now and no one will build market-rate housing in the future, even if the mayor succeeds with his plan to upzone the area to allow bigger and taller buildings, because the math just doesn’t pencil out.

*Meanwhile, the mayor’s plan would work beautifully in higher-income areas such as Park Slope and Williamsburg — except that Bloomberg-mandated “contextual zoning” height caps make it impossible.

Mayor de Blasio is pushing to wipe out those hard-won height caps with a “text amendment” to the building zoning code (as we mentioned in yesterday’s article about the zoning controversy in Prospect Lefferts Gardens). If he succeeds, new buildings and additions 15 to 30 percent higher than what is allowed now will quickly sprout throughout Brooklyn’s most expensive and tony areas and beyond, from Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens — anywhere land is expensive and prices and rents support luxury development. (more…)