CPC Approves Modifications to Parking Requirements in Downtown Brooklyn

Land Use

 

On October 17th, the City Planning Commission (“CPC”) approved a zoning text amendment that modifies the parking requirements for portions of the Special Downtown Brooklyn District (“SDBD”), in Brooklyn Community District 2.  According to the CPC report, “The proposed amendment to the SDBD regulations would reduce parking requirements for new residential development from 40% of units to 20% of units to better reflect actual parking demand in Downtown Brooklyn; remove parking requirements for affordable housing units; and provide additional opportunities for public parking.”

In 2004, the area was rezoned to accommodate greater density.  This followed the City’s goal of fostering “transit-oriented” development and focusing new development in areas with extensive transit access.  As detailed in the CPC report, this area of Brooklyn has extensive transit access, including 7 subway stops, 13 subway lines, commuter rail and numerous buses.

Current zoning requires parking for 40 percent of residential units in new development within SDBD.  Given the extensive transit access, the proposal would reduce the accessory parking requirements to 20% to better reflect actual parking demand in Downtown Brooklyn.   In fact, a study of parking utilization performed by Philip Habib and Associates for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership also found that garages are half full in the evenings and weekends, and data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey show that only 22% of households in Downtown Brooklyn own cars.  Therefore, required parking for 40 percent of residential units seems unwarranted in this area.

The required accessory parking provisions can also be particularly burdensome on affordable housing developments.  According to the CPC report, “one of the impediments to developing affordable units in Downtown Brooklyn is the cost of providing structured parking in a high-density environment.   For affordable housing, where rents are limited by the income of the residents, it is not possible to recoup the cost of providing required parking.”  The proposal therefore removes parking requirements for “affordable housing units” under the Inclusionary Housing Program and units currently eligible for parking reductions as defined in Section 25-25 of the Zoning Resolution.  This should help encourage the development of affordable housing units in the area.

Finally, according to the CPC report, the proposed zoning text amendment will simplify the parking regulations in SDBD to provide more opportunities for additional public parking for use by residents, employees and visitors.

Follow this link to see the full CPC report.

 

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