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Zoning in on 180 blocks

Community Board 14 last week overwhelmingly approved a rezoning proposal for Flatbush, a measure expected to preserve the architectural uniqueness of this diverse neighborhood — while not obstructing growth along commercial strips.

With no discussion, the board unanimously approved the matter at its April 20 meeting. The rezoning will next be weighed by Borough President Marty Markowitz at a hearing on May 7 at 5 p.m. in Borough Hall.

The proposal affects approximately 180 blocks in the northern portion of the community board, an area is generally bounded by Coney Island Avenue on the west; Caton, Parkside and Clarkson Avenues on the north; Bedford Avenue and the CB 14 boundary on the east; and Avenue H and Campus Road on the south.

Overall, it seeks to curb out−of−character building in Victorian Flatbush, while allowing development on commercial streets where the Department of City Panning (DCP), the agency leading the rezoning initiative, deems it appropriate.

“Flatbush is one of the city’s most architecturally diverse and breathtakingly beautiful residential neighborhoods,” Amanda Burden, DCP commissioner said when the rezoning proposal was certified in March. “Working closely with the community, we have developed a comprehensive plan that respects and reinforces the distinctive qualities of this varied neighborhood. The historic 20th century Victorian architecture, generous lawns and mature trees as well as the diversity of its apartment building and active retail character are what make this area so special.”

The plan was initially brought to the community last spring, but has since been revised to include additional protection for the stately homes in two Victorian neighborhoods, South Midwood and Ditmas Park West, a nod to repeated concerns raised by local residents.

Besides rezoning Victorian Flatbush, the plan includes up−zoning some commercial strips located near public transportation, allowing for the addition of housing. The plan also imposes a height limit of 70−80 feet on apartment building−heavy areas where currently there exist no limits.

As part of the extensive public review, called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the borough president will have 30 days to review the proposal and issue a recommendation. After the borough president, the City Planning Commission will review the proposal, then the City Council and the mayor.

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