Yesterday, the City Council unanimously passed the "Narrow Streets" Zoning Text Amendment that Carroll Gardens residents have been pushing for most of the year. It changes the definition of very narrow "place streets" in the neighborhood for zoning purposes from "wide" to "narrow," the main implication of which is that it shaves the possible height of new building and additions to existing ones by one or two stories. The measure affects many buildings in the neighborhood, but one that's of great interest is 360 Smith Street aka Oliver House aka the former Heavy Metal Building. What will become of it?
The developer, Billy Stein, tells the New York Times that he isn't sure if enough progress has been made to allow his building to go to 70 feet under the old rules or whether it will have to be cut to 55 feet (which is what many residents have argued all along). The developer, who was one of the most vocal opponents of the change (versions of which have floated around for more than a decade) says he hopes the building will be exempt because of "difficult constraints" he had to follow in design the building. One resident says Oliver House, whose official address is on newly "narrow" Second Place "is nowhere near the 50 per cent vested he needs to be to get excluded from this text amendment which is effective immediately, but he's making a great effort to look as vested as possible as quickly as possible so that the DOB will let him be grandfathered." In the meantime, the District Manager of the local community board has been sending around emails urging residents to call 311 to ask them to check out the building given the new rules. And, there are reports of holes in the fence that would allow photos being sealed up and of workers trying to stop residents from taking photos to document the extent of the work so far. A tipster says that calls are being made to 311 this morning. And so, as residents celebrate the technical, yet important, victory, it looks like the troops may be massing to fight the Second Battle of Oliver House.
· New Limits on Builders in an Area of Brooklyn [NYT]
· Will Controversial 360 Smith Street Building Shrink? [GL]
· CG Zoning Tweak Passes; Oliver House Doomed? [Brownstoner]