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Community rejects Vinegar Hill rezoning that would allow rise of 9-story rental building

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Residents fear the project would overburden the small neighborhood

Rendering of the proposed nine-story residential building at 251 Front Street
Think Architecture and Design via DNAinfo

Community members of Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill neighborhood are putting up a fight to keep the “quaint” area from falling to the brunt of redevelopment. On Wednesday, residents expressed concern at a community board meeting over proposed plans to bring a nine-story rental building into the small neighborhood.

According to DNAinfo, developers filed a rezoning application with the Department of City Planning to allow for the transformation of a parking lot at 251 Front Street into a residential development, designed by Think Architecture and Design, with 93 apartments, of which 23 would be deemed affordable. However, residents fear that the project would overburden the neighborhood’s infrastructure, as it would double in height over the majority of the area’s current buildings.

They also fear that allowing the rezoning could result in a domino effect that would draw in other developers with big projects in mind for Vinegar Hill. “If this project is supported, other developers will want the same upzoning and, as you can see, the vultures are already circling,” said Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association president, Aldona Vaiciunas.

Residents suggested that developers consider smaller projects that work with the zoning restrictions in place, like building townhouses, but this didn’t go over well. Paul Tocci, property owner of the parking lot he seeks to transform stated, “Those townhouses would then be sold and I would be out of the property. My intention is to hold it and stay in the community and pass it along to my children.”

The community voted to turn down the application but it won’t go before the full community board until February 8th. The concerns addressed by the community will be taken into further consideration when the application is presented to local officials at the next meeting.