Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Madness and the Missing Councilman

It seems that all the bad things for our beloved neighborhoods and people in then always seem to somehow coincide with the vacations and holidays of all the "people in charge" like, say, the POLS, like, for example, Councilman DeBlasio, specifically. For example, the sudden granting of permits late this week on the controversial Scarano building at 333 Carroll Street. (See Gowanus Lounge, F.I.B., Pardon Me for Asking and others.)

How does that work? Didn't the Councilman not too long ago call on the public to help him denounce this architect? Didn't we all join him this year in a copy/paste campaign to New York State authorities to investigate this man? Mr. Scarano's work practice is an issue that the Councilman seized himself this year although CORD never asked him to. It was the Councilman who called for the public's help in investigating Mr. Scarano. His office put a copy/paster letter right on various neighborhood listserves, asking people to sign it then send it to Albany.

Yet, today another Scarano disaster story has hit the 'airwaves'....and has been on the blogs all week, joining the 333 Carroll Street building story. It as a new take on an old, worn-out theme.

How is that no one is questioning this architect or questioning Commissioner Lancaster, or others at the DOB? And furthermore what kind of "SAFE" building over our subway (F TRAIN/Carroll Street) can we expect from either Mr. Scarano, his firm, or from any developer selecting him out of the very large pool of other available architects? And how safe is such a plan to build next to hundreds of SCHOOL CHILDREN no less? (We have a brand new private school, Hannah Senesh) adjacent to this site, also on top the subway tunnel. Hundreds of young children and their parents/teachers will be using a building just INCHES!!! away from this proposed construction site!)

Where is help when we need it? CORD

From: "Philip DePaolo" Date: December 11, 2007 6:21:52 PM ESTTo: "Defend Brooklyn"

Subject: B.S.A gives Williamsburg the finger!

Today the B.S.A decided that the permit for 144 N 8th st (AKA THE FINGER BUILDING, anothe Scarano enterprise) is valid and they are allowed to resume construction. The BSA decision was based on a letter from Deputy General Counsel for the DOB, Felicia R Miller. The letter stated the permit issued in connection with Job #301784399 for a 16 story building was a validly issued permit. We understand further that there is pending litigation regarding the applicant's right to use roof top space at 115 Berry and 138 North 8th Street, as reflected in the plans. If they should loose that litigation, then the applicant will be in violation of open space requirements to the extent they decide to continue with construction beyond 10 stories. For this reason, there is a stop work. Order in place for construction beyond 10 stories. The problem is we have a request made to the DOB for two years ago for a final determination regarding the referenced building plans. I have been informed that the letter issued by Deputy General Counsel Felicia Miller does not constitute a final determination as it is not signed by
Commissioner Mossad.
The related Zoning Lot and Development Agreement dated January 27, 2004, p. 1-3, and Declaration of Easements dated January 27, 2004 p 2, specifically and explicitly preclude using the rooftops of 138 North 8th Street, 115 Berry Street, plus 10% of 133-141 North 7th Street as a roofdeck. Contrary to this, the plans approved for 144 North 8th Street use these prohibited spaces as a roofdeck, and count that area towards the buildings open space requirements. As such, the plans approved for 144 North 8th Street can not meet open space requirements. Yet
the building has the blessing of the city. But what happens when the final ruling comes down on the open space. The preliminary decision in February stated that, based upon
the foregoing, the motion for summary judgment seeking a declaration that the Developer purchased open space rights to the rooftops of 115 and 138 from is denied in its entirety.
So if this judgment holds up the original permit is invalid. Yet the BSA decided to rule before this decision on the open space requirements is finalized.
Prior to the Williamsburg rezoning in May 2005, this developer worked through stop work orders as documented bythe D.O.B., worked weekends without permits, and worked all hours of the night on weekdays, so that the development could be grandfathered under the old zoning regulations, allowing them to build a much larger building than would be allowed under the new
zoning. Despite numerous complaints and plentiful documentation by neighbors, and news media, the D.O.B. rewarded this illegal activity and vested the project. The question still
is, if by doing something improper, did the owners negate their vesting? And if they did, should the site have to comply with the new R6B zoning?
Developer Robert Scarano and Mr. Brach used land and air rights that they did not own in order to construct this building, so I believe the incomplete building must be made to
conform to the new R6B zoning. Even if it stays at 10 stories twice as large as the current R6B zoning allows. This ruling sends a clear message to any developer that they can break the rules and still get rewarded. This project is the poster child for bad development. But the fight is not over! More later. Phil


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........