Planners float new zoning proposal

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Nothing draws a big crowd to a Community Board 8 meeting like a new zoning proposal, and when City Planning Department representatives shared their thinking last Thursday evening about changes in the law to spur certain kinds of development, dozens of people filled the auditorium at IN-Tech Academy. The overwhelming majority of the crowd was there to express their displeasure.

Housing New York: Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) is a series of zoning law amendments aimed at fulfilling the promise of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plans. 

The proposal

City Planning officials say the ZQA has three goals: promote senior housing, modernize rules that shape housing and reduce unnecessary parking requirements for affordable housing. 

In Riverdale and Kingsbridge, to “promote affordable housing and foster diverse, livable neighborhoods,” City Planning has proposed to realize those goals in the following ways:

1. Raise height maximums for basic residential buildings by five feet in R6, R6A, R7-1, R7-2 and R7A zoning areas. City Planning officials say the extra five feet would create a more inviting ground floor. This would not increase story maximums, they say. 

2. Raise height maximums for affordable senior housing by 10 to 20 feet in the R6A and R7A zoning areas. This would increase the story maximums by one or two floors.

3. Make parking requirements optional for affordable senior housing within designated “Transit Zones” (described in the meeting as anywhere roughly half a mile from a subway station) and reduce the requirements in other zones. City Planning officials say data shows people in affordable and affordable senior housing own fewer cars than people in market-rate buildings, so changing parking requirements could lower costs to developers.

4. Changes to special districts, like Waterfront zoning. 

The proposal states there will be no changes to Riverdale’s Special Natural Area District, but it does make changes to underlying regulations that the Natural Area restrictions don’t cover, like the parking requirements for affordable and affordable senior housing. 

A complete look at the ZQA's proposed changes for Community Board 8, click here

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