Brooklyn Boro

City Planning Commission approves River Ring proposal for Williamsburg waterfront

Project heads to City Council committee for public hearing on Nov. 18

November 17, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The New York City Planning Commission today unanimously approved the River Ring rezoning proposed for the Williamsburg waterfront.

The 10 commissioners present voted favorably on the project following a series of approvals through the City’s land use review process, which is required to rezone a vacant industrial parcel in Williamsburg into new housing and a public park.

The project from Two Trees would build more than 1,000 new mixed-income apartments — including at least 263 affordable units — on a former Con Edison storage lot along River Street. The River Ring proposal would also bring a new YMCA facility and a climate-resilient waterfront park along the East River connected to the nearby Domino Park, also developed by Two Trees.

The planning commission’s approval comes after a vote of support with conditions from Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 in September, as well as a statement in support from the office of outgoing Borough President Eric Adams with recommendations in October.

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The River Ring proposal will now go to the City Council, which will host a public hearing tomorrow, Nov. 18. A vote by the full Council is expected by the end of the year.

In a statement to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a Two Trees representative said the company will continue to address the recommendations from the commission, borough president, and community board to deliver an exciting and successful project for the neighborhood.

“We’re working with the community and city leaders to make sure that we maximize affordable housing in the area while delivering jobs and a resilient waterfront park that neighbors can enjoy for years to come,” said David Lombino, managing director at Two Trees.

Two Trees first announced plans for River Ring in late 2019. A group called Sustainable Williamsburg has organized an online petition in opposition to the proposal. During contentious and confusing public hearings, at least three community board members who criticized the rezoning were accused by fellow members of having conflicts of interest.

The River Ring application has been met with support at each phase so far since the review process kicked off in August 2021. Following the community board’s conditional approval, 34 of the 41 participants at the Borough President’s office September public hearing testified in support of River Ring. The Planning Commission’s public hearing in October had 25 people testify. All present were supportive of Two Trees’ overall project and design.

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