City Council Subcommittee Requests Changes to Controversial Rezoning in Bushwick

Wyckoff Avenue at the corner of Dekalb Avenue

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A proposal for a controversial spot rezoning that has Bushwick residents worried for the future of their neighborhood may not go through exactly as planned.

On Tuesday, the proposal, to permit residential development on 10 tax lots at 1597-1601 Dekalb Avenue in Bushwick — they are currently zoned for industrial use only — was approved with modifications by the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.

The group wants the developer to drop existing businesses on Wyckoff Avenue from the rezoning area and make the development more affordable and smaller.

Seven of the committee members voted in favor. One was absent. Councilmember Carlina Rivera, who is married to Jamie Rogers, the Director of Operations for developer Camber Property Group, recused herself.

Since there are modifications, the decision bounces back to the City Planning Commission. They have five days to decide if the requested modifications require another environmental review. If so, the council can’t adopt this position.

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A loft at 1609 Dekalb Avenue

The original proposal is to build two residential structures on a former parking lot in an area zoned for manufacturing.

The developer, who requested the rezoning from manufacturing to residential, owns some but not all of the lots in the original proposal, which made the request puzzling. The 10 tax lots are bounded by Hart Street, Wyckoff Avenue and Dekalb Avenue.

The subcommittee’s requested modifications to the proposal include removing Mandatory Inclusionary Housing option 2 (and adding a deeper affordability option), changing the requested zoning from an R7A to R6A (which means a FAR of 3.0 instead of a FAR of 4.0), and leaving the existing businesses on Wyckoff Avenue out of the rezoning.

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Wyckoff Avenue near DeKalb Avenue

“These are existing businesses which provide jobs, serve the community, and are consistent with the goals of the Bushwick Community Plan,” said Subcommittee Chair Francisco P. Moya at the vote Tuesday.

Bushwick residents recently expressed concern that approval of the proposal as is will threaten the Bushwick Community Plan. Long in the works, the Bushwick Community Plan will serve as a guide for any potential rezoning of the neighborhood.

On April 18, Community Board 4 voted overwhelmingly against the spot rezoning at 1597-1601 Dekalb. Borough President Eric Adams approved the rezoning on May 30 with recommendations. The City Planning Commission approved the proposal on July 11.

Next, the entire City Council will consider the matter.

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