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In Bay Ridge, Residents Call For the End of the Cyborg McMansion

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Brooklyn Community Board 10 opted into a city program in 1996

For the past 20 years, Bay Ridge has been part of a city program that allows homes to be expanded more than zoning actually allows, but that could be coming to an end soon. It was designed so families could add an extra room and stay in the neighborhood instead of leaving. Local leaders, however, say it has gone too far and created a mass of McMansions, Brooklyn Daily reported. They say the Board of Standards and Appeals has been rubber-stamping the "special permits" required to expand the homes.

"It is used rampantly by people to buy property, build it up, and flip it for a profit," Michael Bistreich, legislation and budget director for Council Member Vincent Gentile told the publication. "Repealing it will help keep neighborhood character and the housing market in the area intact."

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann also said the program has been abused, noting that the expansions weren’t supposed to "alter the essential character of the neighborhood," but "character" was never clearly defined.

Now, a proposal to end the program is being drafted by the Department of City Planning, for submission to the City Council, which would have to approve it.

Stop hammer time! Ridgites want freeze on home-enlargement permits [Brooklyn Daily]