2006-02-09 / Other News

Zoning, Overdevelopment Addressed At Civic Meeting

By Debbie Cohen

These houses under construction at the corner of East 95th Street and Avenue M came under fire at civic meeting.           Charles RogersThese houses under construction at the corner of East 95th Street and Avenue M came under fire at civic meeting. Charles Rogers Canarsie residents voiced strong concerns about local overcrowding and the replacement of 1-2 family homes with condos and 3-4 story buildings at the recent South Canarsie Civic Association monthly meeting, to Richard Bearak, Deputy Director of Zoning and Housing Development from the Borough President’s office and Daniel McCalla, vice chair of the Brooklyn Division of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance.

Canarsie is essentially comprised of residential zoning districts, which allows for low-rise (3-4 story buildings) development. Medical facilites and those for the elderly are exempt, according to Bearak. He pointed out that portions of Avenue L, Rockaway Parkway and Flatlands Avenue are zoned as commercial business districts. Just north of Glenwood Road is a commercial use only district, which prohibits residential housing.

SCCA president Mary Anne Sallustro expressed concerns about the preservation of homes and overbuilding in the East 95 Street and Avenue M area. “It is now a family of 30-40 condos with virtually no parking and 1500 homes were recently built in Gateway. This is a quality of life issue. Something is very wrong here.”

Sheryl Fass, who has lived in Canarsie over 50 years, agreed with Sallustro and said the overcrowding “drains the postal, sanitation systems and other services.”

“Home preservation and following zoning laws in the Canarsie area is of utmost importance,” Bearak said.

Zoning applications go to Community Board 18 for review, then the Borough President, the Department of City Planning and, finally, it is forwarded to the City Council in a process called ULURP – Uniformed Land Use Review Procedures. There are currently no applications pending for Canarsie.

According to Bearak, a site on Kimball Street, near Avenue U in Marine Park, is currently in question about a possible height restriction violation.

McCalla advised residents concerned with downsizing to contact the Borough President’s office or call 311 with any complaints. He also suggested residents lobby for new legislation for zoning laws.

Alan Maisel, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming special election for the state assembly seat vacated when Frank Seddio was appointed a surrogate judge last month, said that .Canarsie is a desirable place to build. However, he noted, Canarsie is unable to accommodate more people, which would increase the sewage and sanitation in Canarsie.

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