- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf The Remaking of Webster Avenue (and a whole bunch of other stuff) | Bronx News Networkbronx

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Remaking of Webster Avenue (and a whole bunch of other stuff)

For more than a year, Community Board 7 has been working with the city's Department of City Planning to rezone a section of Webster Avenue as well as several other surrounding neighborhoods. City Planning, with input from Board 7 and a few other local stakeholders (mostly the so-called Four Bronx Institutions: the New York Botanical Garden, Fordham University, Montefiore Medical Center and the Bronx Zoo) recently completed its rezoning plan.

The next stage before these zoning changes are approved is the completion of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), or, in other words, a study that is supposed to say how the neighborhoods being rezoned will be affected by the changes.

There will be a public meeting about the plans (and what the scope of the study will be) on May 19, starting at 4 p.m. (and ending whenever people stop testifying), at the Bedford Park Senior Center, 243 E. 204th St. You can check out the plan by clicking here. (Warning: it's huge and pretty technical.) 

Now, I'm not an expert on these (although I hope to speak to some in the near future), but from my limited understanding, zoning in any city technically determines what can and can't be built in an area. But in a broader sense, it dictates the feel and character of a neighborhood.

In this case, Board 7 wanted to change the character of Webster Avenue and preserve the character on select surrounding blocks. Webster is currently home to an abundance of auto shops and industrial and heavy commercial businesses (think big industrial kitchen stores). It's also home to some apartment buildings and multi-family homes, grocery stores, restaurants and one of the area's most vital soup kitchens and multi-service centers: Parts of the Solution (POTS).

From what I can tell, based on past meetings about the rezoning and briefly checking out some of the gigantic final plan created by City Planning, the basic idea is to rezone Webster in order to make it more of a residential and small retail area. I remember board member Ozzie Brown saying at one meeting that he wanted it to look like the West Village.  The new zoning changes would encourage this type of development and discourage heavy commercial and industrial uses. (The original idea for making these zoning changes came out of the unpopular decision by a developer to turn a tiny Webster Ave. lot into a Comfort Inn. Construction on that project, by the way, has stalled from what we can tell.)

The other part of the plan is preserve some of the surrounding neighborhoods that contain single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings. The zoning changes would essentially prevent developers from buying up homes and turning them into giant apartment buildings that don't fit in with the character or size of the neighborhood.

In any case, this, I believe, is the general idea behind the whole rezoning effort. If you want to find out more about it, click here. And if you want to weigh in on how this will impact the community, go to the public meeting on May 19. We'll have more about this in the next week, but I wanted to get this out there to hopefully generate some conversation about it. Feel free to use the comments section as forum for discussion. 

1 comment:

  1. great initiation by board 7...I hope that the community comes out to lend their support/critiques/concerns on this issue


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