Dock Street Dumbo rezoning gets nod

By James Kelly | January 15, 2009 10:50AM

Two Trees Management has kicked off the seven-month Uniform Land Use
Review Procedure for its Dock Street Dumbo project on the right foot
this time, getting a nod from the local community board at last night’s meeting. An alternate proposal for the site failed to gain approval in 2004.

Brooklyn’s Community Board 2 voted 30-7 to approve the rezoning necessary for Two Trees’ new proposal.

The project, planned for a site bounded by Water, Dock and Front streets, would include 325 residential units, 65 of which would be rentals affordable for low- to moderate-income families. It would also house a 45,000-square-foot public middle school, around 400 below-ground parking spaces and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The site is currently zoned for manufacturing use only.

The board’s zoning approval, which is a recommendation to the City Planning Commission, comes after CB2’s land use committee voted 7-6 against the proposed project in mid-December. The rezoning’s opposition argued that the 18-story, 185-foot tower is out of context with the neighborhood and would block views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Joan Zimmerman, president of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, a neighborhood association opposed to Dock Street Dumbo, said she hopes that at the next step of the ULURP process — the review by the borough president — that Borough President Marty Markowitz would reintroduce a proposal floated in CB2’s land use committee that calls for a lower, less dense residential building at the site. Two Trees has stated, however, that if the project were to rise only 75 feet, as the alternate rezoning plan would allow, its affordable housing component and the $50 million public school would become unfeasible.

In the City Council, which gets the final vote in the ULURP process, Council Member David Yassky opposes the project, while Council Member Letitia James supports it.
Two Trees Principal Jed Walentas spoke with cautious optimism about the borough president’s review of the proposal, and the proposals chances of passing through the remainder of ULURP’s reviews and votes.

“This is just the first step in a long process,” he said. “But I think that once people become educated about what this project truly is, they will realize that it is in context with the neighborhood.”