Dumbo Rezoning Being Considered

Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge

According to a story in the Architect’s Newspaper, the City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden announced at yesterday’s commission meeting that the Department of City Planning was undertaking a rezoning of Dumbo. They will be presenting its first official version of the rezoning to Community Board 2, elected officials, local preservationists, and other concerned parties during a closed-door meeting on Thursday.

“Everyone’s been taken aback by how fast this has taken place after the landmarking,” Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, told AN. The Department of City Planning did not return calls for comment, but Bankoff and another source said they have heard talk of rezoning the area R8A.

Such a contextual zoning that would create bulky 10-12 story buildings, which would conform with some of the areas taller lofts but tower over others. The area is currently a patchwork of lots zoned for manufacturing or residential [.pdf]. “It’s looking like they want a high-density residential neighborhood,” Bankoff said. “What will happen to the remaining factories and illegal lofts, we don’t yet know.”

That mix—new condos, converted lofts, and factories, both active and derelict—captures the neighborhood’s meteoric rise over the last decade from industrial hub to artists’ colony to haute ‘hood. As with previous rezonings, this one should update the area’s outmoded regulations while trying to both encourage and control development. The question remaining for those in the neighborhood is what is appropriate development.

According to the Department of City Planning spokesperson Jennifer Torres, the “proposed rezoning aims to preserve the mixed-use character of the neighborhood, allow for residential conversion of existing loft buildings, promote new construction at densities consistent with the built character of the area, and provide incentives and opportunities for affordable housing development in DUMBO.”

The Dumbo Neighborhood Association is holding a one-hour press conference with Councilman David Yassky at 10:30am today (Wed, Feb. 27) at the PowerHouse Arena (37 Main Street) on protecting the community against inappropriate development.

{DNA Press Conference info (pdf)}

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