The penultimate stage in the long−fought battle over how to preserve the historic homes of Sunnyside Gardens will take place later this month. The city Planning Commission is set to vote on a text amendment for the special zoning district April 22.
Should the commission approve the amendment, it would go to the City Council for a final vote in August, city Planner Amanda Ikert told Community Board 2 last week.
The Planning Commission intends to use the amendment to transfer all enforcement of all building restrictions to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission, which landmarked Sunnyside Gardens in 2007. The area has also been designated as a special zoning district since 1974.
During the years−long battle to get the planned community of brick townhouses landmarked, many of the residents wanted the LPC to continue enforcing the protections included in the older special zoning designation.
The special zoning designation technically required any exterior home improvements to be approved through the extensive land use review process usually reserved for major construction projects, and consequently only two applications were filed in the 33 years the rules were in effect.
Landmarking proponents have said many residents conducted illegal modifications to their homes in that time.
The LPC has approved 106 permits for the neighborhood since the district was designated in 2007, said spokeswoman Elizabeth de Bourbon. Most of them were approved by staff, while six permits for more substantial changes were approved at Commission level, she said.
Sunnyside Gardens was developed between 1924 and 1928 by the City Housing Corporation and based upon the English Garden City model. The neighborhood’s 600 two−story row houses are arrayed in clusters of 10 to 12 around a series of courts containing common gardens.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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