197-a: An explanation

197-a plans, named after a section of the New York City Charter, provide a framework or “blueprint” for development in a particular geographic area, such as a community district or part of a community district. Under Section 197-a, the Mayor, the City Planning Commission (CPC), the Department of City Planning (DCP), the Borough Presidents, as well as borough boards and community boards may sponsor plans for the “development, growth and improvement of the city and of its boroughs and community districts.” A 197-a plan is primarily concerned with land use although it may also address programmatic and service delivery needs. It may focus on one or two areas of interest such as housing and economic development or it may cover a wide range of issues, including transportation, open space and recreation, environment, community facilities and infrastructure. The Charter requires extensive public participation in the planning process, resulting in shared goals and recommendations. Once a 197-a plan has gone through extensive public review and has been approved and adopted by the City Council, it serves as “policy to guide subsequent actions by city agencies.”

Five 197-a plans have been prepared in Brooklyn in addition to the Sunset Park 197-a Plan. The Red Hook Plan sponsored by Community Board 6 was adopted in 1996; the Greenpoint 197-a Plan and Williamsburg Waterfront 197-a Plan, sponsored by Community Board 1, were adopted in 2002; and the Bedford Stuyvesant 197-a Plan, sponsored by Community Board 3, is currently on hold. The Old Brooklyn Plan, sponsored by Community Board 2, did not proceed beyond informal review of a preliminary draft, completed in June 1999. What is significant about most of these plans is that they focus on Brooklyn’s older industrial waterfronts, addressing a range of issues from residential conversions and industrial retention to waterfront access. (to read more, download a PDF below)

To download a PDF of the Brooklyn CB7 197-a intro, click here (section1-328K)
To download a PDF of the Brooklyn CB7 197-a full plan, click here (full-53MB)