Forham Road community leaders and city planners want to know what you would like to see change in the area.
On Saturday, August 21,a representative group, with the city Department of Planning in tow, kicked off the process to rezone about eight blocks along Fordham Road, from Bathgate Avenue to Dr. Kazimiroff Boulevard.
During the tour, community members discussed how they would like to area to be in the future, while city planners pointed out the existing zoning limitations and took notes about the resident’s recommendations.
“This is an important first step for us to have a shared understanding of the condition of the area,” said Carol J. Samol, director of the planning department’s Bronx office. “Usually we do these tours looking at neighborhoods to preserve them, here we’re trying to vision a different Fordham Road than what we see today.”
Buildings along the road are typically between one and three stories high and the zoning is primarily for commercial and office buildings, and for automotive use. Although there is a small number of residential buildings on the strip, these were all grand-fathered in when the area was last rezoned in the early 1960s.
“We think that we could do more here for the central Bronx,” Samol said. “This could be a more welcoming corridor, but now it’s primarily auto related and the zoning is outdated.”
The suggestions from community members ranged from everything from creating a uniform street wall (where the business and store fronts all line up along the sidewalk) to the affects of rezoning on transportation. Most on the tour agreed that the corridor could use some help.
Property-owner David Rose, of Automotive Realty Corp., said he wanted to see a mixed-use zoning so that the area could have a built-in customer base.
“If you add residential you get pedestrianshoppers and we need all that together,” he said. “It will be able to pump up the area, so it can yield it’s highest and best position.”
Resident Domenica Rizzo, who has lived on Belmont Avenue for years, said she is concerned that the rezoning could lead to over development of the area.
“Some of us have our homes here, and so I’m asking that you please take that into consideration,” she asked the planners.
Community Board 6 district manager Ivine Galarza said the board will not come to a decision on what they would like to see happen in the area until they hear from as many residents as possible.
“We’re going to try to find out as much as we can so we can make educated recommendations when the time comes,” she said. “Nothing is set in stone. We’re going to put up a survey on our website soon, and going forward we will continue to take recommendations from everyone.”
Reach reporter Max Mitchell at (718) 742-3394 or firstname.lastname@example.org