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billyblancoNYC
November 28th, 2003, 10:14 AM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Bronx in a new zone

City eyes plan to limit development

By BOB KAPPSTATTER
DAILY NEWS BRONX BUREAU CHIEF

Friday, November 28th, 2003

A new city zoning proposal for a Bronx neighborhood could set the example to stop developers from destroying the character of neighborhoods across the city dead in their bulldozer tracks.
Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the plan - roughly similar to one being studied on Staten Island and in the wings for Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, possibly Bayside, Queens and other neighborhoods after that - at a community meeting in Throgs Neck on Tuesday night.

The proposal would rezone Throgs Neck and surrounding East Bronx communities to block developers from building large attached townhouses on single and double lots, skimping on parking spaces and encroaching on the area's precious waterfront.

"We have to continue to protect the neighborhoods of this city ... to preserve the character of those neighborhoods," the mayor told a packed - and enthusiastic - meeting of the Throgs Neck Homeowners Association on Tuesday night.

They have complained that their neighborhood of small one- and two-family homes is being ruined by the surge of out-of-character townhouse construction that brings with it parking congestion, a strain on the local infrastructure and the loss of precious waterfront space to monster townhouses.

The proposed plan by the Department of City Planning and the Buildings Department would:
Change zoning to prohibit townhouses and permit only detached housing in some areas and detached and semidetached homes in others, with the housing "more contextual with existing homes." Townhouse construction already approved or underway would be closely monitored by the Buildings Department for violations.

Create a new waterfront zoning district allowing marinas and other waterfront uses but limiting residential development to detached houses. The underwater distance allowed to calculate allowable floor space also would be shortened dramatically.

Require new one-family homes to have two parking spaces instead of one, and two-family homes three spaces.
"The issue of inappropriate development has become a huge issue in the city, particularly in the past two or three years," said city Planning Director Amanda Burden.

"The housing starts are off the charts in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens," she said. "Most of them are in low-density neighborhoods where there is a total mismatch between the existing character of the community and what the zoning allows. People are really upset that their neighborhoods are being destroyed."

Bloomberg estimated it could take some time for the Throgs Neck rezoning to get through the city's Uniform Land Use Review Process, but James Vacca, district manager of local Community Board 10, said he believed at least several months could be shaved off the process.

Kris
November 28th, 2003, 11:37 AM
http://www.news12.com/BX/topstories/article?id=95611

muscle1313
November 28th, 2003, 11:40 AM
Totally ridiculous. Was talking to my family yesterday about this rezoning garbage. Consensus was people in community groups would rather have their old bungalows and shantis than new beautiful condos in their community. Probably 99% of people like new development but 1% of the people have nothing better to do with their lives so they join community groups and try to stop any new development and impede progress. Character of neighborhoods LOL. Yes I want my city neighborhood to be full of run down old bungalows instead of luxury condos. Doesn't everybody??? Ridiculous

muscle1313
November 28th, 2003, 11:50 AM
Thank goodness this rezoning is taking time to accomplish and going slowly because in this housing boom neighborhoods like mine in Sheepshead Bay are exploding with new development (8 condos and 2 hotels in development on Emmons Ave on the oceanfront here). By the time this new legislation goes through my neighborhood will already be beautifully developed thank goodness. Can't stop condos that are already approved!

Gulcrapek
November 28th, 2003, 12:22 PM
Three parking spaces for two family homes? Two for one families?

Aren't we in the 21st century?

billyblancoNYC
November 29th, 2003, 01:29 AM
This isn't about shitty little bungalows. This is about taking a nice one-family house in an area of one families and having them be torn down and replaced with 3 attached 2 familes.

I know exactly how this can effect neighborhoods. While I am all for deveopment, I see the reason for this as well. I guess it's all a matter of how time will tell.

muscle1313
November 29th, 2003, 09:11 AM
And what exactly is wrong with replacing a 1 or 2 family house with a condo? I don't buy that it ruins the character of a neighborhood. I see neighborhoods getting more expensive where condos are being built. If anything it improves the market value of homes in a neighborhood. I see it as an improvement. I think the key is that these condos should be built with adequate parking space (garage or lot in the back etc) but to tell you the truth I see that happening more and more nowadays.

billyblancoNYC
November 30th, 2003, 11:49 PM
Ok, so it would be ok to knock down 10 brownstones in Brooklyn Heights to build a 10 story condo?

muscle1313
December 1st, 2003, 06:53 PM
I don't see that happening at all. Why would it? Brownstones already go for millions and have multiple units. What I see happening in the boroughs now is that 1 or 2 family houses are being torn down that go for 200 to 300 grand (at most) and condos are replacing them with individual units selling for twice the amount of the original house. Great for the neighborhoods where these are being built. Market values in these neighborhoods are soaring, and loudmouth community boards are screaming "no our history our character!" Just a bunch of people who have nothing better to do but complain about progress. Unfortunately these backward thinking community boards have political clout. 99% of people that live in neighborhoods never even attend a community board meeting because they have more important things to do with their lives. So the 1% scream and yell and unfortunately stop progress.

ZippyTheChimp
December 1st, 2003, 07:40 PM
I don't see that happening at all. Why would it? Brownstones already go for millions and have multiple units.

Yes, but you're looking at it from the present. There was a time (in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens) when those brownstones were not looked upon so favorably, and your argument could have been made to replace them with new condos. That wasn't done, and look at those neighborhoods now.

I grew up in Sheepshead Bay, and some of the stuff that has gone up on Emmons Ave is not only out of character, but ugly.

muscle1313
December 2nd, 2003, 01:10 AM
Have lived here all my life. It may be ugly to you but when I see a condo going for $1.2 million on my block I say to my wife Wow its happening all over again. Emmons Avenue was known as Millionaire's Row a century ago.

ZippyTheChimp
December 2nd, 2003, 05:38 AM
If money alone is your rationale, then I'm with those one percent. There's no excuse for housing being expensive and ugly.

If Emmons Ave follows that course, it will never be the millionairs' row of Belmont, Travers, and Tappan.

muscle1313
December 2nd, 2003, 08:06 AM
We shall see. My bud Gulcrapek thinks Oceana condos are hideous. I think Gulcrapek is one of the best posters here. I see the Oceana prices are now going up to $1.5 mil a unit and people are taking pictures of it from the boardwalk. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

billyblancoNYC
December 2nd, 2003, 10:13 AM
But the point of this is to preserve different areas in NYC for different housing stock. Some people like one type of house, and others like a different kind. It's b/c within NYC you can live in so many distinct neighborhoods that make it great. Condos are great, especially if it's developing an area that needs it. Many of the areas do not "need" it, it's just about the developers.

I love development and I love how Brooklyn has really taken off, but there has to be some restraint to development. It all has to make sense and make the city stronger as a whole.

Kris
December 5th, 2003, 03:22 AM
Throgs Neck Area Zoning Study (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/throgsneck/throgsneck1.html)

muscle1313
December 5th, 2003, 08:02 PM
Throgs Neck Area Zoning Study (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/throgsneck/throgsneck1.html)

Very disappointing. Sure hope plans like these don't spread to my neighborhood in Brooklyn. My thinking is that by the time all this gets through red tape the condo boom will be pretty much winding down and most of the condo development in south Brooklyn will be pretty much complete. The building boom here wont last forever- people are already getting back into the stock market for investing as an alternative to real estate as interest rates just begin their slow climb back up. I love what I have seen so far during this condo boom. I think it will wind down with market conditions on its own. I'm glad its taking so long to rezone.

muscle1313
December 5th, 2003, 08:24 PM
As an example there were 2 large condo developments built on Emmons Ave during the last boom back in the 80s. The zoning never changed but the next condo development didn't happen until the current boom last year. Now there are 8 contruction sites for condos on Emmons. A big boom, but as the cycle runs its course the developments here will slow just like in the 80s. My hope is the cycle runs its full course before this nasty downzoning comes into effect. Don't care if everything is zoned down after the boom. We will have beautiful development all done in the next year or 2 here and in other neighborhoods where the same thing is happening (there are many).

Ninjahedge
December 8th, 2003, 05:38 PM
There are always areas that will benefit from development, but the nature of the construction has been a bitter one as of late. If you want to see what happens, simply go to the West Side and take a look at the popcorn-like developments going up all over the Jersey Shore.

These "Townhouses" are so close to each other, you can scratch the itch on your neighbors back while he is adjusting the mini-dish on his "deck"

The construction on MANY of them is questionable. They are mostly pre-fab and many of them are not exactly prime construction on top of that.

Example: The use of (against code) pressboard for exterior cladding on a marine exposure property. We are talking 5-10 years before deterioration becomes evident.

You can already see the efflorescence, peeling weatherstripping, and general discoloration apparent on a lot of these structures.

Looking around at these properties, you are astounded at the ones in the 10 year old range that are displaying poor wear in things like kitchen fixtures, windows, bathroom amenities and other high-traffic areas. That is not saying that other older buildings arent the same, or in a LOT of cases, MUCH worse, but still....

I think they should make certain occupancy densities on these properties to prevent the overproduction of good "looking" property that does not have a good shelf life, bringing in thousands of new people into an area that does not have the resources, not the least of them being ROADWAYS, to handle them.

OTOH, you cannot relegate the development back to nothing. I think the only true regulations should be in mind with keeping the new construction in the same venue as existing (at least in general feeling) and the prevention of impenetrable walls of new construction between the inner areas of the city and any thing desired to be viewed (NYC, the river, the ocean, the park).

Agglomeration
December 11th, 2003, 11:22 PM
From the article I've read, I'd guess that the Throgs Neck residents were classic suburbia-loving NIMBY's, terrified of any hint of their neighborhoods becoming another Midtown Manhttan, or even something resembling the East Village and its three-floor row houses. It's actually a good thing that they're sticking to their little corner of the Bronx, not imposing their low-rise vision on Midtown or the rest of Manhattan.

Kris
February 9th, 2004, 02:20 AM
Some developers rush to build in Throgs Neck before new zoning laws take effect (http://www.news12.com/BX/topstories/article?id=101044)

Kris
February 9th, 2004, 05:05 AM
Throgs Neck: Protecting a Waterfront Community

February 7, 2004

By George Sieyo Oscar Obulutsa

A look at the streets of Throgs Neck makes it clear why so many residents think their community is becoming too congested. Cars line the avenues day and night, since most homes have only one parking space but most residents have more than one car. Some now park their cars in front yards, but that is only in the old houses; many of the new buildings have no front yard or a very small one.

Developers have discovered Throgs Neck and have been constructing multifamily townhouses in what had been an area of freestanding single and two-family homes. The houses are invariably taller and bulkier than those they replaced, and some residents in the community have felt threatened. "Houses are springing up where there were none, and bigger houses are being built. I'm afraid there will be a day when I can't find parking, or a day when there will be too much noise on the streets," said Jeffrey Pingam.

The city government apparently shares residents’ concern. Throgs Neck was one of the neighborhoods Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited in his State of the City as suffering from overdevelopment.

Several months earlier, city officials, including Bloomberg and Amanda Burden, the head of the Department of City Planning, had attended a meeting where residents expressed concern about the bigger buildings and about developments blocking the waterfront view. In response, the planning department then surveyed more than 200 blocks in the area. That survey laid the groundwork for a proposal to amend the current zoning.

Under its proposal, the planning department would bar the building of any new attached townhouses in much of the area. To ease the parking problems, the department intends to increase the required number of parking to two spaces per single-family home and three for a two family house. It would also prohibit parking in front yards.

The proposed changes would ban new houses from having floor space below the flood plain and would allow only two floors above it. This would decrease the amount of space in houses and limit heights to 35 feet.

The plan puts various new restrictions on waterfront development. For example, existing waterfront rules allow developers to block the view of the water if they build next to an undeveloped street. New regulations would require them to leave space for the public to have a view of the water.

Overall, said Burden, the plan is designed to “give this community real solutions to maintain its unique character and maximize its spectacular views of Long Island Sound.”

As with any rezoning plan, the community board, borough president, city planning commission, City Council and eventually the mayor have to review this proposal, a process that takes about seven months on average, according to the planning department.

So far, there appears to be little if any opposition to the plan. Indeed, the reaction in the neighborhood is "thunderous applause," according to a planning department spokesman.

Meanwhile, James Vacca, the district manager of community board 10, says he is keeping a close watch on the situation. "I call developers with complaints if they are building too many units if they are providing few parking spaces. I ask them to build more two-unit than three-unit houses."

http://www.gothamgazette.com/community/13/majorissues