Adding a few more parking spaces is exactly what the neighborhood needs and a new zoning change does just that. Community Board 10 will now require more on-site parking spots for newly constructed mid-rise apartment buildings.
On Thursday, March 25, the City Council passed a bill sponsored by Councilman James Vacca requiring area builders to set aside one parking space for every two apartment units built in R-6 and R-7 zones. R-6 and R-7 zones are scattered throughout lower-density blocks in Pelham Bay and Zerega. The R-6 and R-7 allows builders to construct mid-rise apartment buildings up to seven or eight stories, depending on the size of the property.
The number of parking spaces in R-6 and R-7 zones affected by this new rule would be doubled. Nearly completed projects like 3030 Middletown Road and 3427 Bruckner Boulevard and the infamous 1564 St. Peter’s Avenue would have been scaled back if the new parking space regulation had been in affect when the plans were submitted. It also ends the practice of builders subdividing lots to get around the parking provisions altogether.
Vacca celebrated the news with members of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association in front of 1701 Parkview Avenue, a stalled-work site where the plans for construction of a mid-rise building will now have to be altered to meet the new zoning rules.
“The builder at 1701 Parkview Avenue wants to put in a 19-unit high rise but now will have to change plans approved by the Department of Buildings,” Vacca said. “This is because there has been no shovel in the ground. We were able to nip this one in the bud.” The Parkview builder would have to provide 10 on-site parking spaces to comply with the new zoning regulation.
Vacca went on to say that not enough work had been done at 1701 Parkview to fall under the old zoning rules, which left parts of Pelham Bay and Zerega out of the recent downzoning because they had preexisting buildings mixed together with lower-density one- and two-family homes.
In the past, builders have been able to get a shovel in the ground, and architects could bypass parking regulations completely by subdividing existing lots so each would contain fewer than 10 units. The previous and existing parking rules do not apply when there are fewer than 10 units on an individual property.
CB10 Housing and Zoning chairman Peter Sullivan said that he believes that the new law, which comes on the heals of Department of City Planning study in 2009, would help the community because new development is creating a parking nightmare.
“I think that the community is going to support this because it calls for building off-street parking,” Sullivan said. “Parking on the streets is getting really bad, especially with the construction of new buildings, like those on Middletown Road and Bruckner Boulevard, that do not have a lot of parking. We need more parking in [mid-rise] developments in the future.”