Thumbs Down for R’wood Rezone

Katz Wants Lot Preserved For Industrial Use

Believing the space would be best reserved for business, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz rejected last Tuesday, Nov. 5, a developer’s plan to build a three-story apartment house on an manufacturing-zoned lot near the Brooklyn/Queens border in Ridgewood.

Katz recommended denial of a Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) variance that the 1101 Irving Ave. LLC requests in order to build the six-unit dwelling- including a penthouse apartment-at the site with dual addresses of 1101 Irving Ave. and 1504 Decatur St., near the Brooklyn/Queens border.

Representative of the holding company appeared at a May meeting of Community Board 5 and stated the structure would replace a previously-demolished restaurant and two-family dwelling that stood on the 25′ by 90′ lot for many years.

The site, however, is not only zoned for manufacturing purposes, but also located within the South of Myrtle Avenue (SOMA) Industrial Business Zone. Recently created by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the zone aims to attract new industry into the former manufacturing hub while keeping present businesses in operation.

At its June meeting, Board 5 recommended that the BSA deny the variance, claiming new residential development would be counterproductive to the IBZ’s mission. City Council Member Antonio Reynoso also publicly opposed the plan in a statement that a representative made during Katz’s July land use hearing on the matter.

Moreover, some suggested the site could be appropriate for mixed-use (MX) experimental zoning that would allow a combination of light industry on the ground floor and residential space above it.

In her recommendation, Katz echoed the sentiments of project opponents, favoring that the site be used to attract new types of industry into Ridgewood.

“Over the last few decades, as the number of industrial businesses shrank or moved away, many of the parcels of land for such uses were redeveloped with non-industrial uses precluding future industrial development,” Katz said. “Preservation of land and space for industrial/manufacturing uses in New York City is important to assure that we can maintain the momentum and be part of the recent resurgence of manufacturing and new industries emerging in the nation and the city.”

Both Katz’s and Board 5’s recommendations are nonbinding; the BSA makes the final decision on zoning variances, based on the input received for each project.

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