View Full Version : City Isle floats zoning plan

September 10th, 2003, 10:10 AM
Locals hope to slow development


Developers fishing for big bucks from City Island's unique maritime village flavor are about to get reeled in.
The City Planning Commission is expected to vote its approval today for proposed new zoning regulations that would severely limit new development on the island, the closest place in New York City to a charming New England fishing village.

Development - and real estate prices - on City Island have soared recently, with builders throwing up expensive new housing units squeezed together on the island's precious land.

Locals are welcoming the new zoning rules, which have the support of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión.

"We need it desperately," said Virginia Gallagher, a local realtor and member of Community Board 10. "You can't change the size of a mile-and-a-half long, half-mile-wide island with only one main street. But the developers have been destroying the look of our village island."

Gallagher echoed the laments of many City Islanders who say developers are buying up large plots of land or large, older houses, tearing them down and throwing up pricey attached two-family homes.

Squeezed by high prices

Islanders also complain that many new buyers illegally convert their garages into rental units to help offset the cost of staggering mortgage payments for their homes, some of which have been going for $500,000 and up.

Subject to approval by the City Council, the new rules would:

Change the zoning in a 23-block area from R3-2, which allows for attached houses, to R3a, which allows only one- and two-family unattached houses.

Rezone the north end of the island, which has a number of large lots with single-family houses, to outlaw apartment buildings. The island's building height limit of 35 feet would remain unchanged.

Limit commercial development on stretches of City Island Ave., which runs the 1.5-mile length of the island, to concentrate retail development in a village mode, not spread it out.
City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden called the zoning measure "consistent with the mayor's goals and the department's commitment to preserve neighborhoods with unique character."

The commission's vote today follows a public hearing held last month. If the measure is approved, as expected, it will then go to the City Council for a 50-day review period before a final vote by the Council.

Originally published on September 10, 2003

September 10th, 2003, 11:27 AM