Flatbush Rezoning Proposal certified, enters public review process

Update 2009-07-29: Flatbush Rezoning Proposal approved by City Council
Update 2009-05-15: The City Planning Commission (CPC) hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3 at their offices at 22 Reade Street in downtown Manhattan. Sign in at 10am to testify.
Update 2009-03-16: Flatbush Rezoning Proposal CB14 Public Hearing April 2
Update 2009-03-10: DCP-CB14 briefing on Inclusionary Housing provisions March 19

Earlier today the City Planning Commission certified the Flatbush Rezoning Proposal. It now enters the public review process that is ULURP: the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. The proposal covers a huge area: 180 blocks, nearly the entire northern half of Community Board 14.
The proposal, developed over a three year period in close consultation with Community Board 14, community members, local elected officials and neighborhood civic associations, would protect the diversity of scale and character of the area’s Victorian homes, row houses and apartment buildings by updating zoning to reflect the existing built character. The comprehensive community-based proposal furthers the Bloomberg Administration’s sustainable planning goals by rezoning to protect one of the city’s special lower-density neighborhoods while also providing opportunities for modest growth and permanently affordable housing along wide corridors well served by mass transit.
- DCP Press Release
Community efforts for rezoning go back more than the three years DCP has officially been involved. It was a topic of discussion at the first neighborhood association meeting we attended, more than four years ago.

In June 2008, I reported on four major goals for the rezoning, reflecting several of the community concerns that were expressed during Imagine Flatbush 2030. DCP's press release goes into more detail on how the proposed zoning intends to meet these goals, and added a fifth goal (#2 in this list):
  1. Preserve the existing free-standing (detached) single- and two-family houses.
  2. Preserve Flatbush's "unique row house neigborhoods." Some of these rival those in better-known "brownstone Brooklyn" neighborhoods.
  3. Match new zoning to existing buildings as closely as possible without "under zoning".
  4. Encourage creation of affordable housing through incentives.
  5. Create opportunities for commercial growth.
Proposed Zoning
Flatbush Rezoning Proposal: Proposed Zoning

Existing Zoning
DCP Flatbush Neighborhood Rezoning Existing Zoning

The "ULURP clock" starts with today's announcement. Community Board review comes next under ULURP. CB14 will schedule a public hearing on the proposal before their formal decision. Review by the Borough President, City Planning Commission, and City Council will complete the process.

Detached Houses

[The proposal will] match new zoning to preserve the established built character of the neighborhood’s lower-density freestanding one- and two-family homes, including 80 blocks of the celebrated early-twentieth century Victorian homes [aka "Victorian Flatbush," which some call "Ditmas Park"]. Lower density contextual zoning districts (R1-2, R3X and R4A) would replace the existing zoning that permits row houses and apartment buildings with zoning designations that would limit future development to detached housing.
"R" designates residential. The number indicates relative density: R4 is denser than R3. The suffix provides additional restrictions: R3X and R4A only allowed detached homes.

The neighborhoods most affected by this consideration are Caton Park, Beverley Square West and East, Ditmas Park West, and South Midwood. The current zoning for these neighborhoods include R3-1 and R3-2, R4 and R6. Where free-standing - ie: detached - homes still exist, the proposed zoning will be R3X or R4A. And in Prospect Park South, R1-2 zoning is extended west to protect homes that are outside the boundaries of the historic district.


Related Content

Flatbush Rezoning Proposal scheduled for certification, 2009-02-28
New Flatbush Rezoning Proposal Gets It Right, 2008-10-07
Flatbush Rezoning Proposal will define the future of Victorian Flatbush, 2008-06-13



Brooklyn Community Board 14

Uniform Land Use Review Procedure


Brenda from Flatbush said...

Thanks for the info and, especially, the good, clear explanation, FG! So my block would go from 'R-3I' to 'R-3x,' detached houses only...this is good.

Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) said...


The only difference I can find between R3-1, the current zoning in Caton Park, and R3-2, such as in Beverley Square West, is that R3-2 allows fully attached buildings, ie: row houses, while R3-1 does not. Both R3-1 and R3-2 allow semi-detached, ie: side-by-side, buildings. This is more common in neighborhoods with narrower lot widths, where the unattached sides often share a common driveway, breezeway, or side yard from the front to the rear of the properties.

The new designation, R3X only allows detached/free-standing single- and two-family homes with a minimum lot width of 35 feet.