The Real Deal New York

Park Slope zoning proposal could spur expansion of “Canyon of Mediocrity,” residents fear

Residents worried city zoning wouldn't encourage affordable housing, either

August 12, 2015 01:26PM

A row of Park Slope townhouses

A row of Park Slope townhouses

A City Hall-sponsored zoning amendment is stoking fears that the “lifelessness” that is Fourth Avenue could swallow up even more territory in Park Slope, compounding the 2003 zoning change that resulted in a hodgepodge of classic brownstones with “bland boxes.”

Community leaders and residents say the de Blasio administration’s tinkering with the “contextual” neighborhood zoning guidelines will still allow for tall buildings bereft of character, this time beyond the sidewalks of much-maligned Fourth Avenue, famously dubbed the “Canyon of Mediocrity,” according to Crain’s.

The administration’s plan calls for buildings to rise five feet higher than current zoning allows, with reduced setbacks, should the developer provide for senior or affordable housing.

Officials said the zoning changes would discourage mismatched development, but many skeptics remain in Park Slope.

“These are the same people who destroyed our neighborhood,” said Bo Samajopoulos, of Fourth Avenue and 16th Street. The Bloomberg administration’s 2003 zoning change preserved the character of much Park Slope, but pushed larger developments without affordable components to Fourth Avenue.

Other officials and residents expressed concern that the de Blasio administration’s proposal doesn’t force developers to aim for good design, nor does it strongly incentivize developers to construct affordable or senior units.

The community board is still studying the proposal. [Crain’s] Marynia Kruk