BP MARKOWITZ RELEASES RECOMMENDATIONS ON PARKING REQUIREMENTS IN THE SPECIAL DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN DISTRICT
ULURP recommendation calls for more bicycle parking in Downtown
On Tuesday, August 14, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz released his recommendation to the City Planning Commission and City Council regarding the application by the Department of City Planning to reduce accessory parking requirements in the Special Downtown Brooklyn District (SDBD). The full report is attached.
BP Markowitz believes there is some merit in reducing parking for the highest density zoning district, although he agrees with Community Board 2 that maximum reduction should be linked to the generation of affordable housing units. His ULURP recommendation also calls for an increase in bicycle parking, and added that the entire SDBD proposal should be more encompassing by being made retroactive to the establishment of the District (in 2001) and the buildings that started the recent wave of residential development in the Downtown area. The borough president is also requesting additional modifications to make it easier for developers who want public parking integrated into their developments.
As an affordable housing advocate for all of his public life, BP Markowitz wants Downtown Brooklyn development to leverage more affordable housing. The bonus needs to be improved to the twenty percent standard found elsewhere in the borough, and blocks that do not have bonus eligibility should be designated as an inclusionary housing district.
Finally, what better place than Downtown Brooklyn for ‘maturer’ Brooklynites age 55 and older to live—with BAM, Barclays Center, retail and restaurants all within walking distance, not to mention great access to subways and buses? Developers have been slow to embrace this market, so the borough president says it’s time to be proactive with density incentives so the City can further benefit from the economic activity generated by active adults.
“As Downtown Brooklyn and its demographics change, so do its parking needs,” said BP Markowitz. “My recommendations take into account the diverse concerns of stakeholders in Downtown Brooklyn, from developers and residents to cyclists and car owners. And despite erroneous claims from critics that my office doesn’t advocate enough for the bicycle community, here is a case where I used my ULURP authority to call for more parking for bikes in parts of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District. But these recommendations go even further by encouraging the development of more affordable housing, by suggesting changes to make it easier for developers to incorporate public parking in their developments, and by calling for incentives that entice developers to build housing for ‘maturer’ Brooklynites. I am asking the City Planning Commission and City Council to thoroughly review and incorporate my recommendations.”
A summary of the borough president’s recommendations:
PARKING FAIRNESS – MOTORIST AND BICYCLE PARKING
Being responsive to the challenge of providing parking in high density sites, while recognizing that areas with less demand for accommodating overnight car parking would likely have more demand for bicycle parking, and applying the regulations to recent developments as well:
- Change the market rate parking requirement for high density districts (C5-2A, C5-4, C6-4, C6-4.5)—retroactive to establishment of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District in 2001—from a 40 percent parking rate to 30 percent when bicycle parking standards have been increased by 50 percent.
Recognizing that meeting parking demand is not about any individual building but rather the collective properties in Downtown Brooklyn functioning together:
- Broaden applicability of off-site parking opportunities through the expansion of joint facilities to any Commercial Zoning District within the Special Downtown Brooklyn District except for the Atlantic Avenue sub-district.
INCENTIVIZING PROVISION OF PUBLIC PARKING
Being responsive to developers that want to provide public parking:
- Regulations should be simplified to streamline the process, and garages with between 51 and 200 parking spaces with excess reservoir space should not be penalized
- Allow above grade public parking pursuant to City Planning Commission Chair Certification in lieu of Special Permit; and unify reservoir space standards.
INCENTIVIZING PROVISION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Promoting the development of affordable housing by reducing cost to developers:
- When development includes at least 20 percent affordable housing, allow further reduction to a 20 percent parking rate in the highest density districts, as well as a reduction to 30 percent for middle density districts when bicycle parking standards have been increased by 50 percent.
The borough president further recommends that the City’s Inclusionary Housing Program be improved to achieve 20 percent affordable housing in the highest density zoning districts, and established in the remaining zoning districts of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District; and calls on the Department of City Planning to undertake the zoning text initiative.
Because the borough president believes there are insufficient housing options for “maturer” active residents 55 years and older who want to remain in New York City, he recommends the Department of City Planning undertake a study to establish a zoning bonus—consistent with the affordable housing bonus, although without regard for affordability—to entice developers to construct entire buildings dedicated to households age 55 and over. This might entice otherwise reluctant developers who are concerned that buildings limited to this age bracket may not sustain as high a sales price as a development available to residents and families of all ages.
Active Mature Adult Housing