After four years of groundwork, the Bushwick Community Plan has finally been released.
The announcement took place on Saturday at the Academy of Urban Planning in Bushwick. Council members Antonio Reynoso, Rafael Espinal, along with members of The Bushwick Community Plan Steering Committee and local nonprofits such as Make the Road, were in attendance.
Among the recommendations, the plan asks for no rezoning from manufacturing to residential, that additional units above what could be built as of right without a rezoning be deeply affordable, and for blocks on residential streets to be preserved.
“As out-of-context developments with no affordable housing go up on a daily basis, the City must act swiftly to implement this plan,” said Reynoso in a press release.
Most important, the plan calls for rezoning significant swathes of the neighborhood to fine-tune density and use to help preserve neighborhood character, prevent displacement of residents, and encourage healthy growth. So instead of the “overly lenient” R6 zoning that covers much of the area and allows buildings of unlimited height, residential side streets would be rezoned R5B and R6B and some commercial streets such as Wyckoff Avenue would be rezoned R5A, also known as contextual zoning.
The community also wants to require commercial use on the ground floor of any development along busy corridors.
Within manufacturing zones, underutilized public sites and properties owned by religious organizations “may be appropriate for residential rezoning,” according to the plan. But they must be 100 percent affordable.
Three historic districts are also recommended as part of the plan: one along the Bushwick Avenue corridor, a Northeast Bushwick Historic District and the third on Moffat Street between Central Avenue and Evergreen Avenue.
Six individual landmarks are also recommended, including a wood frame house at 71 Cornelia Street, Arion Hall (11-27 Arion Place), the Hamburg Savings Bank (1451 Myrtle Avenue), Little Sisters of the Poor (797 Bushwick Avenue), Public School 52 (330 Ellery Street) and the Ulmer Rowhouses (683-693 Bushwick Avenue).
The plan also suggests making “significant capital improvements” to Maria Hernandez Park and Irving Square Park and creating new open spaces in Bushwick, including on NYCHA land.
The plan will soon be submitted to City Planning for their review and to kick off the official public review process, or ULURP, according to a press release from the group.
Community-led rezonings are relatively rare but include the 2007 rezoning of Bed Stuy and the 2013 rezoning of Crown Heights West, intended to preserve residential blocks and manufacturing space.
Getting to this point has been a long process. Beginning in 2014, Reynoso and Rafael Espinal, Community Board 4, residents and community organizations such as Make the Road helped launch the Brooklyn Community Plan, an effort to design a comprehensive plan for development in Bushwick.
Over the next two years, a series of visioning sessions were held to compile recommendations from the community. Some of the ideas that came out of those sessions are included in the plan: rezone main thoroughfares, including Wyckoff Avenue and Dekalb Avenue, and preserve residential areas; keep certain areas that are currently zoned for manufacturing; and preserve historic character, particularly on and around Bushwick Avenue.
The entire Bushwick Community Plan can be viewed here.
[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]
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