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City Planning Wants Zoning Changes to Prevent Bulky Buildings

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No one likes Brooklyn's Fourth Avenue, including the Department of City Planning whose policies in part drove the throughway to become a canyon of bulky, monolithic buildings. As the De Blasio administration proposes major overhauls to the city's zoning in order to bring more affordable and quality housing to the city, everyone's trying to make sure that the policy caveats that allowed Fourth Avenue to become a so-called Canyon of Mediocrity don't move forward. Next City looked into what DCP has up its sleeve to prevent the city's future Fourth Avenues and it mostly boils down to tacking on an additional five to 15 feet of height to buildings to "accommodate airier floor-to-ceiling heights and ground floors that are either better suited to businesses or lifted from street level for more residential privacy." The Department of City Planning is also proposing to change where buildings are positioned in relation to the street line and update rules for streetwall designs so that more gardens can spring up. The DCP speculates that the changes will spur the creation of "better quality buildings" throughout New York City without increasing building density in any particular area of the city, but will adding height to buildings have any undesirable consequences?

Detractors to the idea of adding height in order to create a more engaging streetscape argue that the move would limit light and air and cancel out any meaningful gain made by setting the buildings further back off of the street. "A lot of these changes are changes that the real estate industry has been asking for, for years," Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation told Next City, "We would have no objection to cases where buildings could have deeper insets or more variation in terms of depth of facades. We're not willing to trade height to get it."
· Do Taller Buildings Have to Mean Darker Streets? [Next City]
· City Amends Rezoning Proposal Because Everyone Freaked Out [Curbed]
· Tracking the Development Boom on Brooklyn's Fourth Avenue [Curbed]
· Brooklyn's Ugly Fourth Avenue Called a 'Canyon of Mediocrity' [Curbed]