Newly-elected Borough President Antonio Reynoso heard proposals to rezone small areas connected to projects in Cypress Hills, Williamsburg and Midwood in his first rezoning hearing on Wednesday.
The three rezonings would support plans to build more apartments in two of the neighborhoods, and increase space for a child care center and a medical center.
Cypress Hills senior housing and child care
In the first proposal, the Mutual Housing Association of New York and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation are seeking to rezone a 30,440 square foot area along Fulton St. between Euclid Ave. and Pine St. for increased residential and commercial density.
The zone change would allow for the construction of a seven-story building with a daycare center and 27 affordable apartments for seniors, with additional properties also included in the rezoning.
“You’re going to get to know me very well,” Reynoso joked to the applicants before diving into a question about the appropriateness of the proposed density and its impact on adjacent properties.
Benjamin Stark, an attorney representing the developers, answered by saying the proposed density works because the project is directly adjacent to public transportation — right off the J/Z subway line.
“A lot of projects come before you that tout their proximity to public transit, but we are quite literally on top of the subway station,” he said. “The stairways are right there.”
He also said an even larger building with more than 1,000 units is already planned to be built on the other side of Fulton Street, diagonal from the site of the current proposed building. “We believe our 40-foot site, at seven stories, will look like a kid brother compared to that development,” Stark said.
52 apartments in Williamsburg
The Williamsburg rezoning proposal also involves a mixed-use apartment building project — Sbeny Holdings LLC is asking the city to upzone an area roughly between Williamsburg St. East, Keap St. and Hooper St. to facilitate the construction of an eight-story building with 52 apartments and nearly 8,000 square feet of commercial space.
The proposed rezoning area, just east of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, also includes some properties across the street from the site of the mixed-use development.
Brooklyn Community Board 1 first vice chair Simon Weiser told the meeting that his board recommended the rezoning be approved. However, he recommended it be approved only for the site of the mixed-use building.
He said the owner of the properties facing the site was not committed to low income housing and the board did not know his plans, meaning the rezoning was “basically a blank check” for him.
Of the planned mixed-use building, hee also said that many residents “feel the character of the height of the building is way out of character with this neighborhood.”
However, another resident took issue with that, saying that there were not enough apartments in the neighborhood. “This builder came forward and he’s building apartments for young people which is exactly what’s needed and they’re trying to stop him.”
Increased capacity at Midwood medical center
In the Midwood proposal, Omni Enterprises LLC is looking to upzone an area on the south side of Avenue P from mid-block east of Coney Island Ave. to East 13th St., which would allow for an enlargement of the Levit Medical Center.
The hearing is just one step in the city’s lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. The proposals have previously gone before community boards for their respective neighborhoods before ending up in front of the borough president.
They will next go to the City Planning Commission, where Reynoso’s feedback will be given. To submit comments on the proposals, email email@example.com.