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Today’s note from the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors (SPAN):

Sunset Park Community Members Speak Out Against Rezoning Plan and Unveil Community Plan

On Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, City Council will vote whether to rezone Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Join Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors as we read our statement against the rezoning in its current form and unveil our plan for our community.

The press conference will include local residents, activists, organizations, clergy and other concerned members working everyday to PROTECT and IMPROVE our neighborhood.

SPAN will provide FREE subway rides at the 36th st. & 4th ave Subway station from 11:15-11:45am. The City Council Hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm.

What: Sunset Park City Council Rezoning Vote

When: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 12pm-1pm (Please note the time change.)

Where: City Hall Steps (Please note the location change.)

Who: Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors & the Coalition to Protect Sunset Park

spanbrooklyn.org

Info & Background on Sunset Park Re-zoning Plan:

The NYC Department of City Planning is trying to change Sunset Park zoning regulations.  (See the City’s plan for yourself at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/sunset_park/index.shtml)

* Their plan will allow buildings of up to 8 stories to be built on 4th and 7th avenue. (In technical terms: 4th and 7th Ave are being rezoned to R7A with an inclusionary housing bonus that allows even taller buildings to be built if “affordable” housing units are included.)

* Their plan will allow buildings of up to 7 stories to be built on 5th and 6th Avenues. (In technical terms: Parts of 5th Ave and all of 6th Ave would be rezoned to R6A)

* Their plan will allow buildings of up to 5 stories to be built on residential side streets. (In technical terms: The plan will rezone most of the neighborhood to R6B.)

* What’s more… 8th Avenue is not addressed in their plan, which means developers can continue to build there the huge buildings that have appeared in recent years.

This rezoning plan will bring luxury high-rise condo development and big chain stores that are too expensive for and do not serve the present community. Keep in mind:

* Luxury condos are unaffordable for most current members of the Sunset Park community. And any “affordable housing” built in exchange for maximum-height limits will not be “affordable” for current residents of Sunset Park either!

* As shown in other neighborhoods, luxury condo development will likely raise rents throughout the neighborhood, for apartment dwellers and small businesses alike. Many low-income renters will be forced to seek housing in neighborhoods much farther from the center of the city.

* For short-term gains, many middle-income Sunset Park homeowners may be enticed into selling their property to developers, who can put together lots to erect luxury buildings.

* Many Sunset Park residents will face new hardships as they try to survive already tough economic conditions.

MYTH VERSUS REALITY

1) The city says its plan is meant to create “contextual zoning districts,” rules that supposedly preserve the character of Sunset Park. In reality, the new “height caps” are higher than current housing and storefront units.

2) The city says it is trying to create affordable housing. In reality, developers will not be required to include any affordable housing units in their projects. The city admits that “affordable housing” is for those with family incomes upwards of $50,00-$60,000 a year. This housing will not be affordable to Sunset Park’s low-income working residents and families with median average incomes of $30,000 a year.

3) The city says this type of zoning is necessary to protect us. But we’re not getting the type of protection other neighborhoods have received. Bay Ridge got most of its streets DOWNZONED, meaning future buildings there will be lower than what currently exists. That’s protection!

4) The city says their plan has been approved by the community because it has been approved by the Community Board. In reality, the Community Board is made up of individuals almost none of them from Sunset Park and who were not elected by the community but were appointed by Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President — a proven cheerleader for the Mayor and for big real estate developers. The Community Board recommended some changes to the plan, but none of them address the issues described above.

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