Thursday, September 18, 2014

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New Zoning Plan Could Bring More Business To Bronx's East Fordham Road

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A new rezoning proposal for East Fordham Road in the Bronx aims to bring both businesses and residences to the under-utilized area. NY1's Real Estate reporter Jill Urban filed the following report.

East Fordham Road is a gateway to the central Bronx that connects the the Belmont section to the borough's business retail district and its big attractions like the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo. This underutilized area is limited by zoning restrictions, but the Department of City Planning hopes to change that.

"The department is looking to rezone portions of 12 blocks along the East Fordham Road corridor. The intention here is to really create an attractive gateway and to provide opportunities for growth and development here along a major wide street with good access to mass transit," says Paul Philps if the Department of City Planning

The new zoning proposal would affect the area generally bounded by East 187th Street to the south, East 191st Street to the north, Southern Boulevard to the east and Bathgate Avenue to the west. The current zoning is now intended for low-scale auto and heavy commercial uses, but the rezoning looks to allow for a wide range of uses.

"So the plan really calls for a medium-density commercial district that will allow a wide range of uses along the corridor and has a maximum building height of 100 feet," said Philps.

To promote more foot traffic, the proposal would also require new buildings to line up at street level and will force community and commercial uses for the ground floor.

Currently, this area of East Fordham Road is also not zoned for residential use. The new plan encourages residential development and incentivizes permanently affordable housing.

It would require that new development fit with the character of the neighborhood so it is not out of scale.

David Rose, a community activist and a business owner along this strip of East Fordham Road, welcomes the proposed changes.

"The current zoning is years and years old, when this was all automotive. It used to be dealerships here," says Rose. "And so you have a lot of properties that are very underutilized and the rezoning would make them better utilized and would spur economic activity."

The Department of City Planning recently certified the plans. Now the proposal is going to the community board for review and will continue through the public review process.

If passed, the new zoning could be in effect later this year.

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