Monday, January 14, 2008

We've Got Mail!!

If you look at our December 13 post below you will see that we asked our readers to cut and paste a letter to Borough president Marty Markowitz...

Thursday, December 13, 2007


PLEASE Send this E-Mail ASAP! The Chair of the Department of City Planning has asked our Borough President for "guidance" in pointing out areas in critical need of rezoning. In light of the events that have recently.... you may want to consider taking the time to send this letter to our Borough President, Marty Markowitz........

Dear Borough President Markowitz,

I am a Carroll Gardens resident. I am very concerned about the out of context development in my community.

I understand that Amanda Burden, Chairperson of the Department of City Planning, has indicated that your guidance in setting priorities that appropriately address the critical need for zoning adjustments within the borough would be welcomed.

In addition to the development that is being experienced all over our borough, in the heart of Carroll Gardens, exists a unique condition, whereby our tiny, residential, gardened streets, are somehow classified as "wide". This classification allows developers to build or alter existing buildings into even larger, denser structures. They have been taking complete advantage of this with no regard for its impact on our community.

We, as a community, are loathe to push too hard to change that one condition, for fear of delaying a larger rezoning that would benefit many more of our streets.

I appeal to you, Mr Markowitz, as our Borough President, and as a fellow Brooklynite, to request that Carroll Gardens be positioned for immediate study. I further request, that once the study has begun, all projects which would be inappropriate under the new zoning, be halted as not to mar our community any further.

My neighborhood is, for all intents and purposes, under siege. What could be more critical than that?



Please cut, paste, add your name (address is optional, but more effective) and send it to the link(s) provided
Thank you.

January 13, 2008

CORD is very happy to report that late last week we got mail! This is the second time the Borough President has addressed our concerns here in Carroll Gardens and his Deputy Director of Planning and Development, Mr. Richard Bearak, has been most helpful to us in so many aspects.

Below is a portion of the letter the Borough President sent to Commissioner Burden and the letter Mr. Bearak wrote to Cord on behalf of the Borough President. The full letters and a third letter from Assemblywoman Joan Millman to Commissioner Burden can all be found at our newsletter. To read and/or subscribe it's easy! Click on this link and enter your email address. Thank you!

January 2, 2008
Amanda M. Burden Chair

City Planning Commission 22 Reade Street

New York, New York 10007

Dear Commissioner Burden:

Thank you for your response, dated October 25, 2007, to my letter dated September 26, 2007. As we are about to embrace the new year I thought that it would be appropriate for you to share your expectations of your agency's ongoing efforts in addressing out-of-context construction while redirecting development to appropriate corridors. In addition, I would like to know whether it might be feasible to embrace new zoning initiatives that have been requested for Bedford-Stuyvesant North in Community District 3, Carroll Gardens in Community District 6 and Crown Heights in both Community Districts 8 and 9.

As for Carroll Gardens, the residents have been quite vocal in their disappointment in the lack of action to stop out-of-context development. In addition to seeking a rezoning, they requested a moratorium and began consideration for becoming designated as an historic district. Some have even questioned the century-old legislation that resulted in the "Place" streets meeting the defmition of a wide street for zoning purposes.....

The "Place" streets in Carroll Gardens, while physically narrow, actually have an official city mapped width of 116' -10 12" and include the front gardens of the buildings along the blocks. The city's Zoning Resolution allows buildings on defined wide streets to be bigger and taller than on narrow streets such as Carroll and President Streets. The premium right to develop properties fronting First, Second, Third and Fourth Places between Henry and Smith Streets has not only resulted in the proposal at Smith and Second, but also led to a substantial number of building enlargement applications for more than 600 properties along physically narrow streets that are termed as wide streets.....

(edit)...If your staff has any questions, please have them contact Mr. Richard Bearak, my deputy director for Planning and Development, at (7I8) 802-4057. Thank you for your consideration.
Marty Markowitz-

Following are excerpts of the letter from Mr. Richard Bearak to CORD:

"Borough President Marty Markowitz has requested that I respond on his behalf to your recent e-mail in regard to the reply that the borough president received from City Planning Commission Chair Amanda M. Burden, dated October 25, 2007, about overdevelopment expressed by the Carroll Gardens community.

"I have attached a copy of the borough president’s letter to Ms. Amanda Burden, dated December 26, 2007 citing some of the unique factors that make Carroll Gardens vulnerable for alteration of underutilized properties and buildings that are commonplace along the streets of this neighborhood. Marty has also requested an update regarding the status of the requested zoning initiative. When the borough president receives a reply from the Department of City Planning, I will contact you again....

(some text bites following): .......
"Marty supports you in your desire to preserve Carroll Gardens’ special neighborhood aesthetics and qualities.
He believes that we can achieve such preservation while finding appropriate opportunities to direct growth........

"The borough president understands your frustration of living in a neighborhood that is experiencing construction at multiple locations. It is very evident to Marty that Carroll Gardens is experiencing a wave of construction not witnessed before. Whether it be developers constructing new buildings or neighbors expanding their homes, the borough president is aware that your neighborhood’s R6 rezoning does not restrict such construction. While Commissioner Burden welcomes Marty’s guidance in setting priorities, many communities throughout Brooklyn have similar concerns. The borough president will continue to communicate with Commissioner Burden with regards to your concerns........for this entire letter, and to see the Boro President's letter to Amanda Burden as well as a separate letter from Assemblywoman Joan Millman to Commissioner Burden.....

"Please do not hesitate to contact me again at the number listed below or via e-mail should you have further questions. Thank you for sharing your concerns with the borough president.

Richard Bearak, AICP/RA
Deputy Director of Planning and Development
Brooklyn Borough President's Office

From Assemblywoman Joan Millman to Commissioner Burden:

Dear Ms. Burden,

I understand that you have requested the guidance of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and other elected officials to identify
neighborhoods in Brooklyn that are in dire need of adjustments. I ask the Department of City Planning to regard Carroll Gardens as one such neighborhood that must be considered as an immediate priority for a rezoning study.

Carroll Gardens is a true Brownstone Community that is under enormous pressure from out-of-context development that threatens to destroy the very aspect that makes the neighborhood such a desirable place to live.....(edit)
I further request that once the study has begun all projects which would be inappropriate under the new zoning be halted until the study has been completed. Too often, irresponsible developers have rushed to complete projects before a neighborhood was rezoned with little regard for the needs of the community or the safety and welfare of the construction workers.....(edit)

Sincerely, Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly

for these full letters....please see our newsletter (click here)!


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........