Community Board 1 voted to support – with multiple stipulations – rezoning a site on the Williamsburg waterfront for River Ring Development.
As designed, two towers will rise 49 stories and 64 stories, making them the tallest structures in Williamsburg. They will include 1,250 apartments, 313 of which will be affordable, 83,000-square-feet of office and retail space, and a YMCA.
The project also includes a public beach, designed in part to protect the buildings in the event of a flood. It is being developed by Two Trees Management.
During Community Board 1’s first hearing on the project earlier this month, dozens of members from the group Sustainable Williamsburg voiced their criticisms.
They argued the project would overburden public transportation, and claimed the amount of public open space associated with the project has decreased since it was first introduced.
“The community has expressed strong opposition for over a year now,” said a spokesperson for Sustainable Williamsburg following the hearing. “Unfortunately, the developer has disregarded all our concerns and pushed ahead with their attempt to rezone the site during COVID, while they have multiple unfinished sites at Domino next door.”
Sustainable Williamsburg believes the River Ring project is emblematic of deeper issues plaguing the city’s land use and development procedures.
“A developer can buy a site with one zoning, and then force the community to respond to their vision in a timed setting,” said the spokesperson. “Developers are not our city planners and we should not be forced as a community to answer this proposal at this time.”
Community Board 1’s Land Use Committee voted against the rezoning. However, the full community board approved the project by a 20-15 vote.
The support came with stipulations. The board asked that the developer decrease the number of apartments by 33 percent and increase the number of affordable housing units from 25 percent to 50 percent.
In response, Two Trees Management issued a statement claiming that they will honor all previous affordable housing agreements and make changes to their plans that are “within reason.”
The project will now be reviewed by the borough president, but final approval will be decided by a City Council vote. Borough President Eric Adams has scheduled a public hearing regarding the rezoning for September 27.