Friday, July 25, 2008

NY Times reports on the Text Amendment and Carroll Gardens

Here is a link to the NY Times article yesterday about our beloved Carroll Gardens and our new zoning text amendment:

New Limits on Builders in an Area of Brooklyn Link
Published: July 24, 2008

"The size of new buildings in an area of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, that is known for the large, elaborate gardens in front of its brownstones will be limited by a zoning change passed by the City Council on Wednesday.

Because of arcane zoning rules that date to the mid-1800s, those large gardens had made the Brooklyn neighborhood susceptible to larger-scale development, city officials and residents said. In the language of city planning, streets like First Place were considered “wide,” having been measured from building to building without allowances for the front gardens. Property owners are sometimes allowed to build higher on wider streets.

According to Councilman Bill de Blasio, the Council approved an amendment to the city’s zoning resolution that would designate a cluster of streets in Carroll Gardens as “narrow” instead of “wide,” and as a result, limit the heights of buildings to 55 feet, as well as limiting the legal building area of a lot.

The affected area includes First, Second, Third and Fourth Places and Carroll and President Streets between Smith and Hoyt Streets.

The Council’s action came after a campaign by residents to preserve the low-slung character of their neighborhood,

Amanda M. Burden, the city planning commissioner, said the affected streets represented the type of unique, intact neighborhoods that deserved protection from out-of-scale development. Houses in Carroll Gardens, she said, have “these exquisite, deep front yards.”

Mr. de Blasio said that in recent years, several new buildings in the neighborhood had angered residents and prompted calls for the city’s help. Residents had focused recently on a proposed apartment building at 131 Second Place. Mr. de Blasio said there had been concern about the developer’s original design, as well as his choice of architect, Robert M. Scarano Jr., a figure associated with the area’s building boom who has been accused in previous projects of flouting zoning rules........."

See link above for the full article or go to:


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........