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City proposes zoning changes for Brookville

The plan, which was announced May 10 and still has to go through a public review process, would reduce the density and height of housing allowed in the blocks bounded by South Conduit Avenue, Brookville Park, Idlewild Park and Springfield Park to maintain the makeup of the community, the release said.

"The quality and character of the neighborhood is slowly changing because of the current zoning," said Barbara Brown, of the Springfield Rosedale Community Action Association. "Contractors have been buying up small houses on lots, demolishing those homes and putting up two and three houses."

The plan would change the zoning that has been in place since 1961 from an R3-2 district, which allows a variety of housing, including multi--family apartment buildings, attached row houses and other residential units, to an R3-1, limiting construction to one- and two-family detached and semi-detached houses, the release from City Planning said.

A four-block area in the northeast corner of the neighborhood - near South Conduit Avenue and Brookville Park - would change to R4B to reflect the Old English-style of row houses there.

"City Planning's rezoning proposal provides guidelines for compatible development at an appropriate density to preserve Brookville's long-standing low-density character in keeping with the Bloomberg administration's commitment to reinforcing the distinctive character of residential neighborhoods that are among the city's most precious assets," said Amanda Burden, director of the Planning Department, in a statement.

The rezoning proposal must pass the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which requires approval from Community Board 13, Borough President Helen Marshall and the City Council. CB 13 planned a public hearing on the plan for June 24 at St. Peter's Church on 147th Avenue, and the full board was slated to vote on it at their June 28 meeting, said Rich Hellenbrecht, CB 13 chairman.

The proposal does not include changes to a small manufacturing zone on 226th and 227th streets between 145th Road and 146th Avenue, Hellenbrecht said. The community had been pushing to rezone that to limit the industrial uses as part of the City Planning proposal, but additional environmental studies would have postponed the plan by at least a year, he said.

"The difficulty in changing that became so monumental that we knew it would take another year to study it," Hellenbrecht said. "I would rather go ahead with the residential rezoning - which is more important - and not have everything wait a year or two."

The plan grew out of requests from the community, which has been pushing for the downzoning for years, Brown said. Residents were concerned about developers filling every available piece of space with large houses and apartment buildings, Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) said.

"I am appalled at how developers who dig for money have thrown up anything that they call homes," he said. "It seems that where one large home was, there are now four home-lets. The only way to protect our community is to downzone."

The added people also put a strain on services and resources in the community, including education, parking and more, Brown said.

"It taxes the infrastructure," she said. "With the increase in the amount of population in the area, the schools, sanitation, all our service needs are doubling and tripling."

And Sanders would like to see other areas in his district downzoned, as well, including Laurelton, Rosedale and the Rockaways, he said.

"I am pushing for other areas of the community to be incorporated under this plan quick before developers hurry up and build," he said. "We have to protect our neighborhoods and our neighbors."

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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