At this point, it’s at least once a week that we bring you some new, preposterous story about Bushwick’s ultra-rapid development — the city’s attempts to brand it as a tourist destination, realtors’ attempts to morph Ridgewood into condo-friendly “East Bushwick,” a market that saw the average rent jump 17 percent in February alone. It’s a lot.
And, per a new initiative from Community Board 4 — the same board attempting to impose a midnight curfew on Sunday evening alcohol sales in the neighborhood — it may actually be too much.
In an effort to “help stop high-rise buildings, bars, liquor stores and storage facilities from taking over the neighborhood” and to “preserve the unique character of Bushwick,” DNAinfo reports, the board has sent a letter to numerous public officials requesting re-zoning of the neighborhood. In some cases, this would mean “down-zoning” to prevent higher-density buildings, a decision that would have to be made by the Department of City Planning.
The department has already said any changes to the area’s zoning would require “lengthy analysis and public engagement,” and any such measure would likely be met with significant backlash from realtors as well as local homeowners, as it could potentially prevent lucrative sale of their properties to wealthy buyers. But, given a similar recent re-zoning in Bed-Stuy (and what many regard as the insane cautionary tale that is the Williamsburg waterfront area), it’s not impossible. And while it’s hard to imagine an official branch of the city ever making a move that in any way curtails the development of a headline-grabbing, rapidly expanding neighborhood, it’s also hard to argue against measures prevent locals — whether they’re Bushwick lifers or just broke, relative newcomers — from losing their homes and their neighborhood.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.