The vote, taken at a April 7th CB2 meeting, came after the Department of City Planning (DCP) made its first presentation on the draft rezoning in a public review process that could take months to complete.
DCP proposed to rezone a 12-block area in DUMBO roughly bounded by Bridge Street to the east, the Manhattan Bridge to the west, York Street to the south, and the East River to the north.
The plan would eliminate some industrial zoning in favor of a mixed-use zoning district to allow for more residential development. CB2's close vote represented a mixed response to the city's plans. While most community board members seemed to agree on the need for rezoning in the area, they differed on just how to do that.
Those who support the rezoning claim DCP's provisions are a sufficient means to preserve the recently designated historic area. Under the city's current plan, developers would have to adhere to a 12-story building limit, and build beneath the watchful eye of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Any new buildings would also be required to offer a portion of housing units at below-market value.
Opponents of the plan, led by the DUMBO Neighborhood Association (DNA), who have a rezoning plan of their own, contend the rezone would threaten the neighborhood's character.
"The current plan is too developer driven," said Gus Sheha, vice president of DNA. Sheha said the city has all but ignored their alternative rezoning plan. "None of DNA's recommendations were incorporated in Brooklyn Planning's proposal."
Sheha and other members of the civic association said they were skeptical the city's plan would preserve the historic district. Likewise, they said it would not be possible to rely on the LPC to restrict future building, citing the commission's failure to do so in the past elsewhere in Brooklyn.
The DNA's rezoning plan would impose an eight-story height maximum for a majority of the designated area to protect the historic district from "out-of-scale buildings," Sheha said.
The group's alternative plan would also aim to preserve affordable living and work space for the neighborhood’s artist community. These artists, along with many small manufacturing businesses, are protected through the current zoning. But a rezoning may force them out of the neighborhood they made popular without providing them with another place to conduct business.
In rejecting DNA's plans, supporters of the city plan pointed at existing DUMBO high rises as evidence that a strict eight-story building limit would no longer suit the neighborhood. In the end, however, they were out-numbered by CB2 board members who decided to vote against the city plan.
"The rezoning was disapproved because the board members felt it did not incorporate the concerns of the community," Carlton Gordon, co-chair of the Land Use Committee, said after the vote.
The plan now moves to Borough President Marty Markowitz' office for review, before review by the City Planning Commission and City Council.