Thursday, October 29, 2009

Carroll Gardens Brownstone District advocates have a welcome friend in the innovative, bold Councilman Tony Avella!

Carroll Gardens/Columbia Waterfront Rezoning News

On Monday, October 26th, the Zoning and Franchises Committee convened at City Hall to hear testimony and vote upon the long awaited rezoning of Carroll Gardens.

The preservation motivated proposal, specifically designed to maintain neighborhood character, called for a contextual rezoning of Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront area.

As at each of the public hearings held during this months long ULURP process, overall approval of the plan was expressed by residents through testimony given in front of the committee. And also, as at each of the public hearings, along with the overall approval expressed, there was also an expression of disappointment and concern that some of the contextual rezoning, which we had all hoped would be, in effect, a downzoning, actually turned out to be an upzoning, on certain streets.

Although we were unsuccessful in getting the plan modified during the ULURP, two wonderful things happened.....the first was the united neighborhood that spoke up in a single voice; the second, an idea grew that could provide a solution, not immediately, but something that could definitely be worked on and that held great promise for our neighborhood and maybe even for other, similar neighborhoods in the borough.

City Planning has explained many times that zoning is not perfect and that they must use the tools available to them to get the best fit possible for all of the many communities throughout the city.

The new idea.....let's give City Planning some new tools for their" toolbox". Let's get some urban planners, architects, perhaps a developer or two and concerned residents involved in coming up with a brownstone district friendly that allows for moderate expansion but does not threaten the destruction of the streetscape or alter the character/integrity of the building or its neighbors. Perhaps even include a design review component whereby making the character of a brownstone type community part of its zoning regulations

So, it was with this ambitious idea in mind, that members of CORD, CGNA and other residents addressed Councilman Tony Avella's committee and we are happy to report that the idea was very well received.

The Zoning and Franchises Committee voted in favor of the rezoning proposal. The proposal has since gone to the City Council where it was quickly adopted on October 28, 2009.

Councilman Avella expressed great interest in the plan to form a new zoning category.CORD has already begun to mobilize. We already have a commitment from two respected urban planners to work with us as well as architects and concerned residents. We will be reaching out to City Planning for much needed help.

We will keep you informed and welcome the assistance of all who are interested.
Please contact us at CGCORD@GMAIL.COM if you would like to roll up your sleeves and help!



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........