City Council approved the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application from Read Property Group to rezone six blocks in North West Bushwick this month. The rezoning development which includes residential, commercial and light manufacturing spaces in the site of the former Rheingold Brewery was already approved by Community Board 4, Brooklyn Borough President and the City Planning Commission, but not by a number of community stakeholders. The impact of the rezoning was grater than the community benefits offered by the developer. The City Council approval took place after several meetings between the developer and an advisory committee comprised by community leaders and representatives from local non-profit organizations. Councilmember Diana Reyna assisted bringing the different parties together.
A coalition of local residents, grassroots groups and community-based organizations mobilized and united forces to mitigate the impact of the housing development. Community stakeholders involved in the process include: South Side United HDFC/Los Sures, St. Nick Alliance, Churches United for Fair Housing, East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corporation, Make the Road New York, representatives from PS 120 and PS 145, members of the Bushwick Eco Action Network, and a group of active residents that worked diligently for over 12 weeks doing community outreach and organizing weekly meetings to discuss with neighbors the implications of the rezoning and potential proposals to mitigate the impact. The community coalition got legal support from Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and the Urban Justice Center.
Some of the benefits Rheingold rezoning will provide to the community were published by Churches United for Fair Housing right after the City Council approval, these include affordable housing that will make up 30% of the total housing units; the transfer of seven lots to a local non-profit for the development of affordable housing; an agreement that the affordable units built by the developer will be both integrated and permanently affordable at an average of 60% AMI; local hiring for both construction and building maintenance; $75,000 to workforce development training for local construction jobs; a commitment to have 20% of construction contracts go to Minority and Woman-own Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and Locally-based Business Enterprises (LBEs); $360,000 to the neighboring elementary schools, P.S. 120 and P.S. 145, for computer lab upgrades and urban gardening initiatives; $350,000 for improvement to Green Central Knoll Park; the creation of over 17,000 sq. ft. in public green space; $250,000 to a legal non-profit providing tenant assistance in Bushwick; $150,000 for supportive services to the affordable units; $50,000 to assist with programming in a community facility to be located on the property; a commitment to not build a hotel on the manufacturing zoned land for fifteen years; the mapping of two additional streets; commitments to provide community parking preferences and to mitigate truck traffic on residential streets; and the creation of a community advisory panel to oversee the implementation of the above commitments.
FOLLOW THE PROCESS
Rheingold Rezoning Receives City Council Approval. December 13, 2013 http://www.greenpointnews.com/news/5833/rheingold-rezoning-receives-city-council-approval
Rheingold Rezoning Saga Continues at Heated CB4 Meeting & Public Meetings. November 20, 2013 http://bushwickdaily.com/2013/09/rheingold-rezoning-saga-continues-at-heated-cb4-meeting-public-meetings/
Residents: ‘No’ To Rheingold. November 14, 2013 http://www.timesnewsweekly.com/news/2013-11-14/Local_News/Residents_No_To_Rheingold.html
Read Property Presents Rheingold Plan to Skeptical Audience at City Council. November 13, 2013 http://bushwickdaily.com/2013/11/read-property-presents-rheingold-plan-to-skeptical-audience-at-city-council/
Bushwickans: Rezoning for development is fool’s Rhein-gold. October 25, 2013 http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/36/43/dtg_rheingoldruling_2013_11_01_bk.html
Rheingold Proposal Gets CPC Approval. October 24, 2013 http://www.timesnewsweekly.com/news/2013-10-24/Local_News/Rheingold_Proposal_Gets_CPC_Approval.html
City Ok Rezoning for Massive Rheingold Complex in Bushwick. October 24, 2013 http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/10/city-oks-rezoning-for-massive-rheingold-complex-in-bushwick/
Controversial Bushwick Rezoniong Approved by City Planning Commission. October 13, 2013 http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131023/bushwick/controversial-bushwick-rezoning-approved-by-city-planning-commission
Development Draws Anger: Opposition to Bushwick Project Galvanized. October 10, 2013 http://www.timesnewsweekly.com/news/2013-10-10/Local_News/DEVELOPMENT_DRAWS_ANGER.html
Residents Protest CB4’s ‘Private and illegal’ Bushwick Rezoning Approval. September 19, 2013 http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130919/bushwick/residents-protest-cb4s-private-illegal-bushwick-rezoning-approval
B-wick Rezone is a Bad Brew. September 14, 2013 http://www.timesnewsweekly.com/news/2013-09-19/Local_News/BWICK_REZONE_IS_A_BAD_BREW.html
Closing Bell: City Planning Met on Rezoniong of Rheingold Brewery Site. September 11, 2013 http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/09/closing-bell-city-planning-met-on-rezoning-of-rheingold-brewery-site/
Developer Read Property has vision for old Rheingold Brewery site, want to bring 10-buildins, 1,000 unit complex to Bushiwck’s Flushing Ave. June 20, 2013 http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/developer-sees-apartments-tap-rheingold-brewery-site-bushwick-article-1.1378671
Just What is Affordable? July 25, 2013 http://www.timesnewsweekly.com/news/2013-07-25/Front_Page/JUST_WHAT_IS_AFFORDABLE.html