Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gowanus Meeting on Toll Brothers Project Draws Crowd

The community meeting last night about the big Gowanus project proposed by the Toll Brothers firm that would leapfrog the actual neighborhood rezoning project, drew a big crowd and even attracted two representatives from the development company itself, included VP David Von Spreckleson. City Council Member Tony Avella held forth about the advantages that pro-development upzonings have over down zonings within the Bloomberg Administration, according to local blogger PMFA, who provided one account of the meeting. Community activist Phil de Paolo, who is a veteran of many North Brooklyn development and zoning debates also advised the Gowanus group. Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman described how the environmental review process for the development would work.

A full account of the session has been posted by our friend Gabby Warshawer at Brownstoner, who writes:
if the overflow crowd that filled the community room in St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Residences last night was any indication, there’s a great deal of fear in the community that those questions won’t be answered before the city gives Toll the go-ahead to build their project.
The Toll project would contain 577 units of housing in buildings up to 12 stories tall. Residents are organizing in advance of an early "scoping" hearing on an environmental impact study that must precede consideration of the Toll Brother proposal. The Toll Brothers officials noted that sale of the property for their development is contingent on it being rezoned for residential use. (The current zoning is for manufacturing uses.) PMFA describes the Toll representatives as growing "a bit testy when asked if they would reconsider and abandon the project if the neighborhood was against it." One asked "if the neighborhood would rather continue living with a dirty canal than with the development, to which quite a few people said: yes."

The Scoping Hearing will take place on March 13. There will be two sessions, one from 2:00 to 5:45 PM and one from 6:00 to 8:45 PM at the City of New York Department of City Planning, Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street, New York, New York 10007. Written comments will be accepted for ten days after the meeting.

[Photo courtesy of Pardon Me for Asking]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some clarity from last night:

1. The developers are propoing 447 residential units TOTAL, 130 of which would be "affordable" per inclusionary zoning.

2. There are concerns about overtaxing the sewers. However, the property tax on new development (when abatements sunset) will be 10x the RE tax on existing homes. The developer could include a waste treatment facility on the property but would need to build more housing to cover costs.

3. There are concerns about overcroding schools but PS32 may benefit from more affluent parents in the district. Or, the City could build a school on the "Public Place" property just a few blocks away?

4. As usual, traffic and parking is an issue yet ample parking is proposed as part of the development and there's minimal congestion on Bond, Hoyst, etc.

5. Some people want the block remain "as is" which is unlikely. If residential isn't allowed, then expect some major retail store to just build under the existing zoning.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on 9:32 do you honestly think that affluent parents will send their children to PS 32 in the hopes it will improve? I doubt it. And if they do, the influx of new students could displace the middle school.

Maybe Whole Foods could relocate to the Toll site.

An on site sewer treatment plant in exchange for more housing is an idea that I could get behind. What a selling point that would be!

9:47 AM  

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