Friday, August 7, 2009

Another Critical Chapter in the Rezoning of Carroll Gardens/Columbia Waterfront

The City Planning Commission hearing for the Carroll Gardens/Columbia Waterfront rezoning will be held on August 19th at 10 AM at 22 Reade Street, NYC, NY 2nd Floor.

As many of you are aware, the contextual rezoning in the Carroll Gardens area changes most of the current R6 designation to R6B with a portion of the area, for all intents and purposes up-zoned to R6A.

At previous public hearings, some concern was expressed for the portions of First Place, Clinton Street, President Street and Henry Street, where the current plan proposes an R6A classification.

R6 3.0 FAR* 55 foot height limit
R6B 2.0 FAR 50 foot height limit
R6A 3.0 FAR 70 foot height limit

*FAR = Floor Area Ratio---the number which your square footage of living space is multiplied by in order to come up with the amount of square footage you may increase you living space by. (Please note that there are many, many factors involved in addition to this FAR number when calculating any increases in your building’s size. FAR is only one of those factors, albeit, a very important one.)

We have only three (3) options:
1) accept the proposal as is
2) request that some, most, or all of the proposed R6A areas remain R6, as they are right now
3) reject the plan entirely

Unfortunately, the “Special Planned Community District” designation, as CORD had suggested, was deemed by City Planning as an inviable option at this time.

Looking at the development that took place PRE the wide street text amendment, which allowed for the greater FAR of 3.0 and a seventy (70’) foot height limit, it was on those “wide streets” where almost all of the larger scale development took place.

It is therefore logical to presume, that any “islands” of greater development potential that are created by the R6A rezoning, will draw developers for the greater profitability those islands afford.

City Planning is open to the neighborhoods wishes within the three above options.

This is, admittedly, a very simplified portrait of the contextual rezoning. But, as the City Planning Commission hearing approaches, it is vital that we, especially those who live on those portions of First Place, President Street, Clinton and Henry Streets, those streets where the proposed zoning was questioned, think about what is desired and make those wishes known.

You may view the rezoning map at:

Please feel free to email us your thoughts or ideas on this at


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........