CIVIC CENTER — A sprawling eight-story office tower on the Williamsburg waterfront with two public plazas, a promenade, retail on the ground floor and space for light manufacturing uses, got a thumbs up from the Planning Commission on Wednesday.
While the original plan included a 14-block rezoning backed by the city, which would have paved the way for more office towers between Kent Avenue and Berry Street near the waterfront, the Planning Commission nixed the larger rezoning, giving the go ahead instead to one single project.
"We are gratified that the City Planning Commission voted to approve the development of 25 Kent Avenue, which will continue Williamsburg’s 200-year long entrepreneurial tradition," said Toby Moskovits, head of Heritage, and a third-generation Williamsburg resident, following Wednesday's hearing.
The broader rezoning, which would have allowed developers to seek special permits to increase their building size in a 14-block radius without having to build "community facilities" had triggered community concerns during the rezoning process.
At a March hearing the Deputy Brooklyn Borough President had grilled the city for a "lack of analysis" in the proposed rezoning and community board member Thomas Burrows called it a "14-block experiment."
Just one city planning commissioner voted down the 25 Kent Avenue rezoning proposal on Wednesday morning, worried about a possible lack of enforcement regarding the amount of light manufacturing allowed in the project.
"We know that the threat to the industrial sector is real," said Planning Commissioner Michelle de la Uz. "This proposal has not been analyzed or vetted sufficiently, in my opinion, to know if the right balance has been struck."