Following a stormy Dutch Kills Civic Association meeting 10 days earlier, the Department of City Planning held an environmental assessment hearing just before Thanksgiving. The meeting, held in the school auditorium of Evangel Church on Crescent Street, was the latest part of the long process toward completing the Dutch Kills rezoning project. It lasted several hours, providing an opportunity for Dutch Kills residents and developers who are currently busy in that neighborhood to address a City Planning panel that was headed by Robert Dobruskin, the department's director of environmental assessment and review.
Dutch Kills Questions Rezoning Plans
Decades of forbearance seemed worthwhile as long as Dutch Kills remained substantially intact, until hotels a dozen stories high and built as-ofright transformed the neighborhood into a highrise area despite the new zoning.
The last speaker was Pastor Robert Johansson of Evangel Church. Johansson has been at Evangel for 20 years and he believed that the rezoning was a plan the neighborhood "could live with". He wondered aloud why a stop-work order was never instituted while the rezoning plan was instituted. "There is something wrong," he said, with a plan that allows 200-foot-high buildings to go up in a neighborhood where, for one thing, nothing nearly that high had ever been built before and where, for another, construction would not be permitted higher than 35 feet once the new zoning is finally in effect. He appealed to the Planning panel before him to institute the new zoning before its requirements have become worthless.
It is not solely up to the Department of City Planning to determine when the new zoning will be effective. The channels that the zoning plan must go through might take it at least another year. It could be an interesting year for Dutch Kills.
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