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Brooklyn Joins Manhattan, Bronx and Queens to Reject Mayor's Zoning Plan

By Camille Bautista | December 2, 2015 8:44am | Updated on December 2, 2015 9:23am
 The Brooklyn Borough Board voted to disapprove the city's two zoning proposals with a list of recommendations at their December meeting Tuesday.
The Brooklyn Borough Board voted to disapprove the city's two zoning proposals with a list of recommendations at their December meeting Tuesday.
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

BROOKLYN — Brooklyn’s Borough Board voted against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed affordable housing zoning changes Tuesday with a lengthy list of recommendations.

Twelve of Brooklyn’s 18 community boards voted against the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposals with modifications during the meeting at Borough Hall.

This borough-wide board is the latest to reject the plan. Brooklyn joins Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens in widespread opposition.

“By voting with our recommendations today, we’re saying 'No' to the city plan and here are the recommendations we are making based on each one of the various community boards,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.

The proposals are part of the mayor’s plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing throughout the city.


► Read an overview of the proposals and see how each community board voted

Community Boards' Opinion on Rezoning Not as Important as Mine, De Blasio Says

► Zoning Plan Unites Civic Groups in Opposition

For Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, the majority of Brooklyn’s boards voted Tuesday to disapprove the proposal but to submit a list of suggestions, except for CB 11, which abstained, and CB 15, which opposed the suggestions and wanted an outright rejection of the plan.

Community boards 8 and 15 opposed the disapproval for Zoning for Quality and Affordability with the borough board’s suggestions.

“Community Board 15 did not want any modifications,” said its chairwoman Theresa Scavo. “They just want this whole plan out.”

Members of the borough board — made up of city councilmembers, Adams and community board representatives — voted against MIH with conditions 20-1 with three abstentions. The vote to reject ZQA with modifications came in at 20-2 with two abstentions.

MIH would require developers to make portions of any new residence include permanently affordable housing.

Under ZQA, zoning regulations would be updated to increase the maximum height for buildings and encourage contextual building design, as well as create room for senior and affordable housing.

Members of boards such as CB 7, which covers Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, the South Slope and Greenwood Heights, expressed concern over what ZQA’s changes would mean for developers.

“The problem is that whenever you talk about changing the envelope and changing the height, developers start to think in a different way,” said CB 7 chairman Daniel Murphy. “And we were not sure of the measures to prevent unscrupulous development.”

“We are a little more wary of how developers will read that and respond to it. Because once that change is made, you can’t change zoning on a dime. Which is why this whole process is so serious.”

The Brooklyn Borough Board’s resolution to disapprove MIH included:

► Seeking to have AMI qualifications adjusted to include rent-burdened households

► Concerns that, unlike the Voluntary Inclusionary Housing program, MIH does not provide any opportunity to preclude displacement

► Smaller developments (minimum of three units) need to participate in the payment in lieu of option

► Create additional Voluntary Inclusionary Housing Designated Areas to provide affordable housing in neighborhoods that were already upzoned, such as Fourth Avenue in CB 6, Eastern Parkway in CB 8, and Kings Highway in CB 15

The board’s 13-page resolution to disapprove ZQA included:

► Terms to ensure that affordable housing for seniors do not get converted into market-rate housing

► Refining Transit Zone boundaries for specific community boards, including removing community districts 8 and 11 from the Transit Zone

► City must consider the availability of parking in surrounding areas and the proximity to public transportation in determining the amount of parking spaces to reduce or waive

The borough board’s vote is advisory. The proposals will go before the City Planning Commission with a hearing Dec. 16, and continue on to the City Council.