Monday, March 31, 2008

This Week's Carroll Gardens Dust Up: 340 Court Street

340 Court Flier

Last week, a team from the Toll Brothers came to Carroll Gardens to present the developer's plans for a big development on the shores of the Gowanus Canal. This week it's the Clarett Group's turn as they come to the neighborhood to show plans for the controversial building at 340 Court Street on the site of the former International Longshoreman's Association building. Unlike the Toll Brothers, which needs to go through a full land use review process because the firm needs special zoning to building its project, the Clarett Group needs no city approvals to go forward, other than pro forma okays from the Department of Buildings. Because of existing zoning, the developer would actually have been able to build a structure up to 20 stories in the existing neighborhood. The building they are proposing, which is being designed by Rogers Marvel, will be seven stories.

The project has already spawned the creation of the Union-Sackett Block Association, bitter complaints about some early work on the site, concern over asbestos removal and has led to local officials trying to run interference between the developer and residents. An email about this week's meeting says "Developer to Unveil Plans at Behest of Union-Sackett Block Association and Other Community Groups." Here some detail:
A large turnout is expected for this open meeting, which will be hosted by the Union-Sackett Block Association, with support from local elected officials and community groups, including the Coalition for Responsible Development and the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association. After the Clarett Group and its architect present the current plans for 340 Court Street, the community will have the opportunity to react and respond...This meeting presents an opportunity for the community to have its voice heard and for the Clarett Group to signal whether it is willing to work with local communities on contextual and responsible development.
While the public presentation to Community Board 6 by the Toll Brothers was a relatively controlled and polite forum, there are likely to be more fireworks at this community meeting. On Saturday, in preparing for the meeting, neighborhood blogger PMFA notes that opponents tethered balloons and floated them 70 feet above the site to demonstrate how tall the Clarett Group building would be. The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 3, at 7PM at PS 58, which is located on Carroll Street between Smith St. & Court St. There is more on the meeting at the Union-Sackett Blog.



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