Friday, March 14, 2008

Toll Brothers Gowanus Development Gets Scoped

The City Planning Department held its Scoping Hearing yesterday for the proposed Toll Brothers development on the Gowanus Canal. With neighborhood resistance to the project getting organized, the hearing attracted more attention than the average technical City Planning session. The room was full during the afternoon session and about 18 people spoke on the project. Blogger Pardon Me for Asking told us that 14 people spoke against the Toll rezoning and three spoke supportively of the project, though not necessarily the special rezoning. PMFA wrote that she was "proud" of the community's performance at the hearing:
Clearly urging the Board to not issue the spot zoning change that Toll Brothers' will need to push their project through, Carroll Gardens residents listed some of their concerns. Amongst the concerns raised about the effects the development will have on the area were effects on the infrastructure, the obvious hazards of building on a very polluted site as well as the recurrent flooding around the canal.
Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman, who is a candidate for City Council and has been working as a volunteer with residents to coach them on the land use review process used the session to blast the city government's approach to both Carroll Gardens and Gowanus. "Political and economic forces seem to have wrenched control of the neighborhood's destiny from the community itself," he said in a prepared statement. "The community is here to take it back." Mr. Hammerman seemed to reserve his harshest criticism for the city's handling of the Carroll Gardens rezoning issue:
It's a community that has been lobbying actively for the Department of City Planning to apply contextual zoning protections to prevent further destruction of its built form. We know the Department has committed to looking at Carroll Gardens at some unspecified future date. It is apparent, however, that we will likely need to wait for a new administration to take over before that will happen. In the interim, irreparable damages to the community will continue to mount. The decision not to act expeditiously is a conscious act that suggests that our city government is not there to protect us.
Mr. Hammerman urged the Planning Department to listen to resident concerns. "We're raising an army of citizen planners to raise the issues that we believe must be considered," he said. "We know that if an issue doesn't make it into the scope we can't get it studied, and if it isn't studied it can't be considered when looking at changes to the project." Mr. Hammerman sought to draw a distinction between Carroll Gardens and Gowanus, which he called "a mixed-use community with an important industrial heritage whose distinct architecture has been deemed eligible by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for listing in the National Register of Historic Places."

The Toll Brothers are asking for approval of their project ahead of any rezoning of Gowanus. All indications are that the city will recommend a zoning framework very similar to the density that the developer are seeking. Written comments can be submitted through March 24. The comments should be sent to Robert Dobruskin, Dept. of City Planning, 22 Reade St., New York, NY 10007. A copy should also be sent to Community Board 6 at 250 Baltic St., Brooklyn, NY 11231.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "spot zoning" should not be used here as this proposed residential zone is contiguous to a residential zone.

A smaller "spot" of manufacturing to residential conversion that has recently been endorsed by our community board can be seen here:
can be viewed here.

The cr*p from those new toilets will also flow into the Gowanus but no one is protesting? hmm...

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People are raising the toilet problem. Unfortunately, City Planning could care less about that since it doesn't fall within that agencies purview. The people who should be protesting the loudest are Toll since raw sewage is not exactly a selling point.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Hammerman and the rest of Community Board Six in Brooklyn has been ignoring the requests of the Gowanus community for the past twenty years. He's an emperor in fake clothing, pretending to care about us so he may gain a few votes!

Let's not be fooled!

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 9:59, You are DEAD WRONG. And I cannot help but wonder who you are, and if you are in the Gowanus Community – or voicing the opinion of someone who stands to benefit financially from all these development pipedreams being presented by certain groups that SAY they represent Gowanus, such as the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corp, Gowanus Conservancy. These groups were only created to attract developers so that they can all make a killing. Craig Hammerman is no emperor in fake clothing, and he actually DOES care. A breath of fresh air after all these years of hearing Buddy Scotto say that he is the one who will save the canal. Someone should do an expose on a money trail, on who stands to make the dough, and connect some dots...

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:59 is probably a shill for Buddy Scotto, the ghoul of South Brooklyn, who made his living after cleaning up on the families of the deceased he buried. How many of their properties went through his hands?

Ever wonder why Buddy didn't run for office himself? Maybe because he didn't live in the neighborhood until only a few years ago - his wife thought it was too unsafe so he lived in Bensonhurst instead. Or maybe because he is a registered Republican. Or maybe it was because he doesn't want to be someone else's puppet -- he likes sticking his hand up the back of Bill and Marty to make their mouths and arms move. Why be the puppet when you can be the puppet-master?

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK now, lets not call it a Spot Rezoning, but a spot rezoning would be correct. Better yet, lets call is a sham-piece-meal rezoning.

12:04 AM  

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