Parts of Ridgewood are being considered to become an Industrial Business Zone in an effort to foster growth in the neighborhood’s industrial sector. Community Board 5 will be hosting a public hearing next week to discuss the possible IBZ creation.
According to a press release, the area that would be converted includes blocks south of Myrtle Avenue by the Brooklyn-Queens border.
Mayor Bloomberg, as a way to protect existing manufacturing businesses and create real estate certainty, created the IBZs in 2006. The initiative was in response to the massive amount of manufacturing buildings being bought up by landlords looking to turn the buildings into a residential space.
To go along with the IBZs, Bloomberg also created the Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses, which would address building owners’ concerns and advocate for their rights.
However, eight years later, the OIMB no longer exists and all the while loopholes and variance applications are allowing more and more IBZs across the city to be swallowed up by commercial and residential building owners —including one on Woodward Avenue in Ridgewood.
Even the funds that grant tax incentives to manufacturers have been zeroed out.
With the ever-shrinking industrial sector struggling to stay afloat, it is difficult to say whether or not converting parts of Ridgewood into an official IBZ will benefit the community in the long run, but CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said in a press release that recognizing certain parts of Ridgewood as official areas for manufacturers will make it more difficult to legally convert the property to residential use.
He also added that any properties that are currently used for legal residential living can continue to be used for housing if the Ridgewood IBZ is approved.
The public hearing will start at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12 at Christ the King Regional High School, followed by the usual monthly board meeting.