A proposal to protect the swanky residential enclave from overdevelopment was met with a favorable response from Borough President Marty Markowitz, the latest official to review the plan as it makes its way through the city's lengthy approval process.
The 31-block area up for rezoning is bounded by Atlantic Avenue to the north, Warren and Wycoff streets to the south, 4th Avenue to the east, and Court Street to the west.
The neighborhood is home to three- and four-story row houses that date back to the mid-1800's, as well as two of the borough's most vibrant commercial strips in Court and Smith streets.
But unlike neighboring Carroll Gardens or Park Slope, where high-profile development squabbles led to restrictions on building size and density, current zoning regulations have left Boerum Hill vulnerable to out-of-context highrises of over 100 feet that would dwarf their surroundings.
“It was the last area that was left hanging in terms of context zoning,” said Councilman Steve Levin.
The new plan would establish “contextual zoning districts” of R6B and R6A zoning that would impose required setbacks and maximum height limits of 50 to 70 feet for most of the area.
A small portion of 3rd Avenue would be rezoned R7A, allowing for buildings of up to 80 feet.
The rezoning would also extend commercial overlays to sections of Bergen Street and 3rd Avenue, to bolster business there, while keeping shops off predominantly residential side streets.
The plan was developed by the Department of City Planning in response to community concerns about future development. Though the neighborhood has been left largely untouched, it is wedged between ever-expanding Downtown Brooklyn and the site of the under-construction Barclays Center.
“We're trying to protect the housing stock,” said Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association. “All of the other brownstone neighborhoods [nearby] are protected except for us.”
So far the rezoning has been met with widespread support. The borough president has 30 days to consider the plan before it is sent to the City Planning Commission for review and on to the City Council for final approval.