Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Demand A MORATORIUM! On The Gowanus Re-Zone!

Demand A MORATORIUM! On The Gowanus Re-Zone!

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Dear Representative,

As a resident of New York City, I am writing to demand that a moratorium be placed on proceeding with the Gowanus Rezone Proposal, which incorporates parts of Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens, until the city’s needs can be reassesed. In the wake of COVID-19, with both the city and state budgets in crisis, the economy in free fall, and 20% of Americans having lost their jobs—including a disproportionate number of people of color— this plan is woefully out of step with what the city needs right now, or what it can afford.

In addition, residents are fleeing the city in droves, and we are already seeing a net reduction in population, which we can expect to continue in the coming years. This is not the time to flood the market with a glut of  luxury housing units, while offering major financial incentives and giveaways to developers. Putting it forward now is both fiscally irresponsible, and socially unjust.

The Gowanus Rezone plan gives developers the green light to build 22 to 30-story towers along the Gowanus Canal, Fourth Avenue, and many other designated areas of adjoining neighborhoods. It is expected to create at least 6500 new luxury apartments.

The plan also includes enormous developer incentives and giveaways. Developers will be excluded from paying any property taxes for at least 25 years, thereby contributing absolutely nothing to the infrastructure that will be needed for the 20,000 new tenants predicted to flood the neighborhood once construction is completed. This is NYC’s largest rezoning project to date, yet developers will contribute no money towards schools, and no money towards transportation. 

But the biggest  giveaway is the estimated half a billion dollars of New York State taxpayer money that will be handed over to the developers for building in brownfield areas. This money is to subsidize their building costs, NOT the cleanup. 

The need for new housing units in NYC must also be re-examined, including the needs for so-called “affordable” units. While the country is entering a recession—perhaps a depression—and the city is experiencing a major population reduction, existing housing stock will of necessity become more affordable. And the people who will be most in need of housing—the enormous numbers of residents who now find  themselves out of work—will not even qualify for the proposed affordable units.

This is also not the time to eliminate designated manufacturing zones, and put even more people out of work, as would occur under the current plan. Shortages of necessary supplies during the COVID-19 crisis proved the city’s need for local, American-made products, and the physical space to allow such manufacturing to more widely bloom. 

In the wake of COVID-19, while the city, state, and Brooklyn residents are in a state of financial decline, the city is seeing an enormous number of residents fleeing the city, and massive numbers of citizens are out of work, subsidizing luxury towers built by wealthy developers is UNJUST and FINANCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE. 




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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Gowanus Canal CAG/Community Advisory Group

Tuesday January 28, 2020, the first monthly meeting of the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group was held at Mary Star of the Sea at 41 First Street in Brooklyn.  Today the EPA issued an Administrative Order requiring the  
Start of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site cleanup.  Much discussion about this Administrative Order occurred during this meeting.
Riverkeeper Presentation by Mike Dulong, Attorney for Riverkeeper:
Army Corps of Engineers has been compiling  information about storm surge scenarios and the possible use of barriers.  Riverkeeper favors on shore modifications only for these storm surges.


Monday, January 6, 2020

Please read about the Highly toxic site called "Public Place" in Brooklyn slated for residential developed and "affordable housing"

Public Place is Highly toxic yet slated for residential development.
It is full of coal tar, a well-know and harmful-to-humans carcinogen. 
So why put people in harm's way?
Please read this devastating article in The Guardian entitled,  

Is this the version of "Affordable Housing" you have in your mind for Brooklyn?
It is definitely NOT the type of Affordable Housing CORD envisions.

Please read our letter to the Brooklyn CB 6 Chairperson Peter Fleming below.
Consider writing one of you own!  Choose one or more from the links below or send to your own elected officials!

To  Brooklyn Community Board 6, Peter Fleming, Chair

Dear CB6,

Attached please find a Guardian article which very simply explains why we, at CORD, are so opposed to the development of the Public Place for residential use. 

We do not believe that the additional two or three feet of soil placed over the plastic sheeting “barrier” will be any more protective of the perspective residents on the Public Place site as the two feet of soil placed over the plastic sheet “barrier”’was for those on the New Orleans site in the article attached (via link) below. 

It is sheer nonsense to bill that “barrier” as anything more than an indication to someone digging around in that dirt that what lies beneath it is severely and hazardously contaminated. 

Of course there was a time when the plastic sheeting was being presented as a “vapor barrier” although that has not been mentioned in quite some time.  

Either way, how are the developers and advocates of the Gowanus Green project now spinning how once the barrier is breeched  to dig foundations for the 30+ (?) story high buildings, a “barrier” for prevention of vapors or anything else will still be effective?

Those who are now living with the consequences of such willful
negligence, like the people in New Orleans, would certainly not recommend subjecting others to it. 

Perhaps the Community Board, in an effort to explore this subject more thoroughly would consider taking a genuine look at the health risks and documented consequences of projects akin to Gowanus Green. 

There are other places besides New Orleans where the 
Hazards of PAH exposure have taken their toll on communities. 

The Community Board should take some responsibility for the health of their community members in this. You have an obligation not only to those of us living here now, but to the community members who will come. 

Please read the attached article. 

You have a voice in what happens here. You are our voice - the voice of everyone this project endangers. 

Lucy DeCarlo, Rita Miller, Triada Samaras

'We’re just waiting to die': the black residents living on top of a toxic landfill site
In the 1980s, black New Orleanians were encouraged to buy houses built on a toxic landfill....

Read in the guardian:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

CG CORD receives a Letter from Brooklyn CB 6

Below is the letter CG CORD received from Brooklyn Community Board 6 on June 11, 2019.
We were heartened by this letter.

Eric Adams
Borough President
June 11, 2019
Marisa Lago, Chair
Department of City Planning 120 Broadway, 31st Floor New York, New York 10271
Peter D. Fleming
Michael Racioppo
District Manager

Re: Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning and Community Information Dear Chairperson Lago:
As you know, Brooklyn Community Board Six has been working with the Department of City Planning (DCP) to ensure that, whatever happens with the possible Gowanus rezoning, the larger community, not just the board, but everyone who calls it “home” has an opportunity to be fully informed about it. This requires us to operate as a conduit - a source of information for, as well as from, our neighbors.

DCP’s Brooklyn office, specifically Winston Von Engel and Jonathan Keller, have always made themselves accessible by attending various committee meetings and while in attendance answer a wide range of questions. This is of course greatly appreciated but, as stated above, we want to make sure everyone is fully informed, and having heard from an involved segment of our community that has circulated a petition seeking more information we seek your help in getting a positive response to their request.

Specifically, The Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development (CORD) is asking that we conduct at least 2 public meetings with all relevant City, State & Federal governmental agencies to explain the Gowanus Neighborhood Rezoning’s impacts & consequences. The various agencies would also be expected to explain how they would address those impacts & consequences. We ask that the Commissioners of each agency (copied and listed below) find agreed upon date(s), meet with our community, and do just that, at their earliest opportunity.

As the lead agency for the city we’d hope that the DCP is supportive of these efforts. We would also like you to confirm, precisely as possible, when the Environmental Impact Study will be completed when the Universal Land Use Review Process “clock” will begin.

Our scoping comments highlight dissatisfaction of the board, and in the community at large, with a lack of specificity in the Draft Zoning proposal as well as the PLACES Study. That makes it difficult to, as we will eventually have to do, vote to approve or disapprove of this plan. These public meetings would help us make that decision and serve to illuminate, for better or worse, what it would mean.

We can see clearly when decisions are made transparently.

Peter D, Fleming Chairperson
Hon. Brad Lander 39th New York Council District
Hon. Stephen Levin 33rd New York Council District
Hon Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President
Commissioner James P. O’Neill, New York City Police Department
Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, New York City Fire Department
Commissioner Vincent Sapienza, New York City department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Joseph Esposito, New York City Office of Emergency Management

Chief Lillian Bonsignore, New York City Office Emergency Medical Services Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, New York City Department of Sanitation
Commissioner Richard Carranza, New York City Department of Education Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Basil Seggos, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation President Andrew Byford, New York City Transit Authority

Chairman Patrick J. Foye, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Regional Administrator Peter Lopez, Environmental Protection Agency Region 2
Regional Administrator Thomas Von Essen, Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 2

CG CORD attends the Brooklyn CB 6 general Meeting

This evening members of CG CORD attended the Brooklyn CB 6 General Meeting held at Pave Academy in Red Hook at 732 Henry St. Brooklyn, NY. 11231 at 6:30 PM.  The meeting was live-streamed and placed on Youtube.  See this LINK below:

Below are the remarks made at the meeting by Rita Miller, CG CORD Co-Founder to CB 6 Members:

"Good Evening, My name is Rita Miller, I am one of the Co Founders of the twelve year old neighborhood group, CORD, the Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development. 

In order to provide the community with a deeper understanding of the impacts of the very ambitious, forward moving, Gowanus rezoning proposalCORD came before your Permits and Licenses Committee last Monday to ask this Board to organize and hold a minimum of two (2) town hall Q&A sessions with an impaneled group of fifteen  city, state and federal agencies and to submit 100+ CB6 resident signatures in support of this via our petition. 
Tonight, by the way, i will be submitting over 150 more. 

Last Tuesday, Michael Racioppo informed me that your Chairman was amenable to the idea. By yesterday morning, Michael was kind enough to copy me along with all of you, on the Chair's letter to Brooklyn's Dept of City Planning, outlining the history and details of the request as well as asking for DCP's help to make it happen.  

Sincere thanks to Peter Fleming for his swift response to our request.  

Since the release of the Draft Scope of Work, it has become increasingly obvious that this rezoning proposal will impact this community in ways never before seen. 

The introduction of 19,000 new residents, a City estimate we feel is conservative, is the equivalent of adding an entire town to what is mostly CB6's boundaries. In 2018, CB6 population was listed at 109,351. Increasing any population by 20% places an enormous strain on that area's infrastructure.  

I know you are all aware of our infrastructure's present fragility.. 
It is evident in the necessity to alleviate our school overcrowding- by having them go through a rezoning process of their own, in the current plans that suggest the F train eliminate four of our stops sending us to farther away transit hubs instead. 

A single firehouse on this side of the canal and one real hospital in the entire district are  serving so many already. Overburdened sewer systems, a Superfund cleanup in progress and the unavoidable traffic situation once the cantilever repair work begins are just a few of the challenges we are facing right now. 

Now Magnify that by at least 20%.
It would be more than tragic if the City, no matter how willing in words, was unable to realistically meet our basic needs after we had already become a significantly larger community, 

So, I am not only here tonight to thank you for trying to get better and more information. I am here tonight to beg you not to give up on getting us better and more information.
Finally, CORD recognizes and appreciates all of the hard work, you, this volunteer group of neighbors, especially the Land Use Committee has done in regard to this proposal. This "ask" of ours is not an expression of dissatisfaction. 

It is simply that this rezoning proposal is so unprecedented in size and so extraordinary in scope that it demands extraordinary explanation and unprecedented examination.

Thank you."
Rita Miller, CG CORD Co-Founder
June 12, 2019


BKLYNER features our CG CORD request to Brooklyn Community Board 6

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your on-going support with our petition to have at least two town hall two inter-agency meetings with NYC agencies about the Gowanus rezoning hosted by CB 6 to inform the public much more about the Gowanus re-zoning plan.

Below you will see we have been featured in the Brooklyn news media very recently. Thanks to Pamela Wong at BKLYLNER for picking up our story.

"Gowanus News: Appeal To City Agencies, Comments To DCP, IBZ Roundtables"

"GOWANUS – Carroll Gardens Coalition For Respectful Development (CG CORD) has requested that Brooklyn Community Board 6 (CB6) coordinate at least two town hall meetings with NYC agencies about the Gowanus rezoning. The group has also started an online petition."

"The meetings would allow community members to ask questions of specific agency officials so they can determine whether “the City has the means, the resources and the will to TRULY plan for the impact of about 8,200 new housing units and an estimated 19,000 new residents,” the petition reads. The meetings must take place in advance of the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) to give the community and CB6 members the chance to fully understand and “assess all of the potential consequences of this rezoning.” (edit)

(See this LINK for full story and images)

Sign the CG CORD Petition!

Thank you.


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........