Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Live from Sugarland! Part II
7:27 PM:We’ve got a series of technical questions from CB 1 members, including Solomon Bondo, Jose Leon, Rob Solano, Heather Roslund and Thomas Burrows. The crowd is deadly quiet, either asleep or in rapt attention for the Community Board 1 Q and A period.
I have a question. Why is Julia Morrow the only person smiling in the entire room?
Linderman: Because it’s Julia.
Also, I should note that Laura Hofmann has been busy emailing the CB1info listserv in the middle of a CB1 meeting! Laura is not here at the meeting. Where are you Laura? We miss you!
CB 1’s Ward Dennis aka Ward’s Island asks if any zoning would allow hotel use in the area. The short answer is no. There’s a long answer. Goody. We’re about an hour away from seeing the Ward Face.
7:44 PM: Liquor licenses. There are 18 renewals.
Andy Campbell: I applied for a liquor license for my house.
It's seconded. Carried. Onto the board meeting and another roll call by Gerry Esposito. 36 members present
"That's an amazing model," says Rami Metal, who wandered over to Press Row.
Rami could be an amazing model. He's wearing a well-fitted pinstripe gray wool suit.
On the fashion theme, Andy Campbell notes that Rabbi David Niederman's hat style is catching on. It is fashion week.
7:47: CB1 Chairman Chris Olechowski gives his report and explains that New Domino is now referred to the Land Use Committee and that there are 46 people signed up to speak. Two minutes each. The public session will happen at the end of committee reports. Goodbye Yeasayer tickets.
In the hallway, Susan Pollock and the developers have stepped out while a reporter from Brooklyn News 12 interviews (who else) Isaac Abraham, who showed up just for the occasion. Inside, as the de facto Environmental Committee Chair, Chairman Chris summarizes the Horizontal Hydrofracking, which was reviewed at the last environmental committee meeting. And by summarize, we mean expands upon. I am learning way more about horizontal hydrofracking than I ever wanted to know.
8:02 PM Ward Dennis gives his report, mentioning the next Land Use meeting, February 23rd 6:30 PM at the Capital One Bank building. He expounds on the negative recommendation that the land use committee gave the 55 Eckford Street site and the four buildings proposed by HPD with Yuco Real Estate. There's also an item from Borough President Marty Markowitz to City Planning's Amanda Burden about a citywide zoning streetscape text amendment. The NAG girls are snacking on raspberries, blueberries, dried cranberries and coffee, which is basically their dinner. Meanwhile, someone outside is yelling loudly on his cell phone about his investments and facebook. Welcome to the new Williamsburg.
8:14 PM: Esteban Duran takes the mic to talk about school budget cuts and the impending snow storm. At this rate, we're going to get snowed in like Bart and Lisa at Springfield Elementary. If we get snowed in and we run out of food, I'm eating Rob Solano. Speaking of Rob, he's sitting next to CB1 mascot Mieszko Kalita is apparently guarding an expensive-looking digital camera. Does anyone know why Mieszko has a digital camera? And why he is hiding it?
8:22 PM: Mieszko runs down the liquor licenses, including the Kings County Distillery which will be operating its own gin and whiskey distillery with a tasting room not far from McCarren Park. A hushed cheer erupts among the NAG girls.
"That's real whiskey isn't it?" asks Andy Campbell.
Yes Andy, real whiskey is coming to Williamsburg and the committee recommends its approval.
Meanwhile the Governor Paterson resignation watch is in full effect.
Mieszko shifts to the Trophy Bar, which has been an ongoing issue among Public Safety members. Mieszko is calling for a vote. Committee voted yes, with stipulations. The board votes, 8 against, no abstentions, and the motion carries. The highlights, right.
8:37 PM: We're going with public session and everyone is getting called by name. This will take maybe two hours. These are excerpts and I may miss . Bear with me.
William Cole reads two sentences of the assemblymbers Lopez and Lentol for their positions.
"CPCR's proposal for the development site is unacceptable. Unacceptable" -Lopez
"I do not believe this developer fits the character of this community, nor can it fit another 5,000 residents," -Lentol
Lentol asked the developer to open the books for examination.
Architect Leah Krieger is up next.
Krieger: So much of the work of the architects and developers have done is good work, I don't agree with all of it. The goals are quite strong. I do think there is some confusion with this project's relationship with the 2005 rezoning. There are 5 alternatives that have been prepared.
It is not a good comparison to control this site with the waterfront rezoning."
She's urging stipulations and a delay for another month.
Janice wants CPC Resources to "Show us the money"
Maybe one person in this room can get to afford to live in one of the units. Everyone else can hope to live and die in desperation.
8:54 PM: And there it is. The Ward Face.
Emily Gallagher NAG Board member is up: We have an enormous demand for housing in this neighborhood. We need low income housing, middle income housing, we need more housing for
One type of housing stock outpaces them all: luxury condo units.
Doesn't it make sense to provide apartments that are in demand. We've seen what happens in this neighborhood when developers roll the dice on the luxury housing market and it is not pretty. This proposal is asking a huge sacrifice for this community. We think that you should really reconsider this plan.
Stephanie Eisenberg: This is a Wall Street deal. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is.
I am going to give a check for $500 to the first local nonprofit group to prove where they are legally bound to 30 percent affordable, stated mix of apartments.
This is not about trust. If you want to do a deal, it has to be in writing, it has to be transparent.
Heather Padin: I am speaking in support for CPRC's plan. The question is why. I was born and raised in Williamsburg housing. Looking at this plan, I understand that this was an opportunity. When I started to look for an apartment for myself, I could not find anything that I could afford.
Peyton references how she found a co-op through her church group at All Saints parish.
Chloe Coburn: Speaking on behalf of NAG's Lacey Tauber.
This plan encourages car ownership and runs coutner to the city's goal of reducing its carbon footprint. adding another 1700 parking spaces will further degrade the neighborhood's quality of life. Rather than emphasizing car use, CPCR's should bring the MTA to the table to discuss public transportation for the site (such as rapid bus transit, which she references).
Anita Dunbar: We need more parks and open space for our community. We need access to the waterfront. We need employment opportunities. For most of all, we need more than 20 percent of affordable housing ont he waterfront. I believe Domino project exceeds those needs.
Ryan Kuonen: We are being asked to give our support without being given any real numbers why it hast o be this way.
We read every day about financing and foreclosures, we walk by buildings that sit empty on the waterfront. It is clear these buildings are not selling. We have to question why a building of this scale in this neighborhood is being considered.
Paul Cogli: Churches United Director. We believe the plan strikes a balance in order to provide the 660 affordable units. Last month the cluster of Greenpoint Williamsburg parishes joined us in approval of the site. Too many families are being driven out of this neighborhood. The domino project makes a strong statement for the community. We support this project that creates
We oppose any changes to the project
Father Rick Beuther: Our neighborhood continues to change. I look at this domino project and I see a lot of home runs. When I see affordable housing units and that open space, that's a lot of home runs. It's not a perfect game, but it's a win.
We have a series of parishioners who are speaking now.
Sasha Sumner: My name is Sasha Sumner and I am not here to talk about Domino.
Sumner wants to talk instead about toxic fumes coming from underneath her home. Yikes. We'll revisit later.
Phil DePaolo is up and he's reading a statement: Phil believes that only 100 units are affordable for residents living in CB1 based on the board's 35,000 median income, while also arguing that 575 people could be displaced.
"Overall Domino is proposing a project with density larger than the 2005 rezoning along the water."
Phil receives applause. The crowd is half and half, and very civil compared with the Broadway Triangle crowd.
A woman from Los Sures is reading the plan and notes the organization's support and another longtime resident, Victor Chandler, speaks in favor of the project.
9:13 PM Steve Levin walks in mid-public session. The manholes have been saved. Let's move on.
J. Swope: I represent Churches United for Fair Housing.
To address secondary displacement, this part of Williamsburg will be developed either way and I think that this plan will develop affordable housing and open space. Intermission: Julia Morrow is talking about Parks Projects
Morrow explains that ticketed shows will be added to the roster for East River state park and that Transmitter Park is open.
Meanwhile Phil DePaolo and Joe Vance don't give me the light of day.
Back to Domino...
Steven Frankel: I am a 15 year resident of the south side. What bothers me is the density and the height and we have worked for 15 years to come up with a compromise for waterfront zoning and I think this is a dangerous precedent to waive a lot of those options. The density and the height don't have anything to do with the neighborhood. The intentions are good. Don't supersize domino.
More speakers for and against.
Juan Ramos: I'm here today to support the project that Domino is proposing as is. (he's a board member of Churches United for Fair Housing) Not only does it provide opportunities for affordable housing, it also provides opportunities for jobs. It also provides us with open space.
If you can use $500 money to take a tour of our neighborhoods so that you can see our reality. Our reality is much different than the reality that you live. The reality is that they want this project from obstructing their view from their window we want to stop obstructing affordable housing for this project.
"The original" Guido Cianciotta is talking about the Greenpoint Renaissance Plan.
9:31 PM: Council member Steve Levin swoops in for public session while CB1 member Esteban Duran shouts out to Steve to take a position RIGHT NOW on Domino. Steve presses on:
It's been a busy month, talking about economic development, talking about land use. As you're well aware, Rose Plaza was before the City Planning Commission and I did testify to back up what community board 1 said. It really speaks to my belief in the community board of the wonderful purpose and significant level of impact they have on the city of New York. This is democracy at its best. Never a dull moment in land use and planning in North Brooklyn.
Finally, old business, new business. Nope. Tish is giving us a Happy Valentines message Chairman Chris gives a motion for adjournment. We've got it. The meeting has ended and Phil DePaolo has cornered Steve Levin. Rabbi David Niederman leaves, and he has been very quiet on this project. The big question of the night is how is the Hasidic community going to vote in Land Use later this month. One member I spoke with afterwards had reservations on the affordable housing numbers. We'll see. Goodnight everyone!