Webster Avenue Rezone Approved by New York City Council

The proposal to revitalize Webster Avenue by bringing new developmental opportunities has officially become a reality.

On Wednesday, March 23, the New York City Council unanimously approved the proposed plan to rezone Webster Avenue, which has been in the works since 2005 when Community Board 7’s Land Use and Long Term Planning Committee felt that Webster Avenue could use some improvement.

The rezoning proposal reached the final stage after the New York City Planning Commission approved it on Wednesday, February 16 and the City Council then held three meetings to determine its fate.

The final meeting took place at the Emigrant Savings Bank on 51 Chambers Street on Wednesday, March 23, in which the City Council gave their approval to the Webster Avenue rezoning.

The proposal aims to turn Webster Avenue into the newest lively, inviting and safe residential and commercial business area of the borough. Fernando Tirado, district manager of CB 7, is excited about what he calls a ‘success’ for the Bedford Park and Norwood communities.

“The approval of the proposal is a huge relief and we are certainly ready to move forward in this process,” Tirado said.

“This definitely is a success for the area because it will ultimately benefit the communities and its residents. If there is anything that Community Board 7 can do to help, we are ready to get this going.”

The Webster Avenue zoning dated back to 1961 when the former New York City Third Avenue line #8 train ran along an elevated structure that was trazed in April 1973.

Back in January in front of the city Planning Commission, city officials proposed the idea of rezoning approximately 80 blocks in Bedford Park and Norwood.

Local officials hoped that a rezone would attract new affordable housing and new business ventures along Webster Avenue, which is currently populated with auto repair shops, apartment buildings and litter-filled lots.

According to Tirado, studies of the stretch included in the rezone have already begun and there are several options that are already being considered.

“There’s so many things that could be done. For instance there are no banks around the intersection of Webster Avenue and Gun Hill Road,” Tirado said.

“There are many bicycle lanes but no bike shops. We also would like to see anything that would help benefit our nearby tourist attractions such as the Botanical Garden.”

Tirado also believes that although the state is currently facing budget issues and the development market is very weak, residents will be satisfied with the improvements that Bedford Park and Norwood will see in the hopefully near future.

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