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Hired hand for Gardens rezoning - Grad student on the job; study still a wait

The effort to protect Carroll Gardens against overdevelopment got some extra help this week, but advocates hoping to get on the fast track to “downzoning” probably shouldn’t expect to zip to the head of the line.

Purnima Kapur, director of the City Planning Department’s Brooklyn office told the Courier earlier this week that the graduate student recently hired to do background data collection for the rezoning of Carroll Gardens would be “helpful” but that there are “many different steps” involved – some including other offices.

According to Kapur, the City Planning Department’s Brooklyn office has just 20 staffers to address rezoning requests for the entire borough.

The office is presently in the midst of rezoning 300 blocks in Canarsie while also moving ahead with highly controversial rezoning plans for both Coney Island and Brighton Beach.

“We take a team approach,” Kapur said. “There are 10 studies going on. Carroll Gardens is very much in the queue.”

Data collection and field survey work – looking at the types of uses, height and bulk of buildings, the number of units, the presence of parking, yards and parks – is the first step in any land use study.

Members of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association with help from Community Board 6 have already done their own extensive look at the neighborhood housing stock.

City Planning officials say that the new hire – made possible through funding secured by New York City Councilman Bill de Blasio – will be working on a “short-term basis” while satisfying the requirements of the Urban Fellows Program.

When the decision is made to move ahead with a full study and potential rezoning, officials say that the data the new hire helps collect can be used as the basis for recommendations and an actual rezoning proposal.

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