Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lifelong Resident, Vincent Favorito, Speaks

CORD hopes that reading the words of your neighbors through these testimonies each day serves to inspire you to participate in the next phase of the zoning amendment process.

On Wednesday morning, June 4th, the City Planning Commission will be holding their hearings regarding the Carroll Gardens zoning text amendment... we are one step closer to MAKING A CORRECTION that needs to be resolved once and for all----we are almost there....we will give you more details as the date approaches...
We will need your support. Perhaps, you will be willing to speak before the commission. Perhaps, you will choose to share your thoughts with the commission via a letter. Let your friends and neighbors words be your guide. Please do not be afraid to participate.

Listen to what your neighbors have to say, listen to how they feel about where we live and let your voice be heard as well. This is your chance to make change happen. Take it.

Link to Text Amendment Fact Sheet prepared by CORD and CGNA




432 CLINTON STREET BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, 11231 (718) 852 0903

May 7, 2008

Hon. Marty Markowitz Brooklyn Borough President

Brooklyn Borough Hall 209 Joralemon Street Brooklyn, New York 11201

Re : Carroll Gardens Zoning Text Amendment Community District 6

Application Number N 080345 ZRK

Mr. Markowitz

I am a resident of Community Board 6 and a member of the Carroll Gardens Neighbor Association, Inc. (CGNA), and the Chair of the Historic Landmark Committee forCGNA.

I reside at 432 Clinton Street, Brooklyn NY, 11231 .I have been a resident of Carroll Gardens for more than 65 years.

I make this statement in support of the above referenced Land Use Application Number 080345 ZRK which is included herein by reference and made a part hereof. This amendment would correct the City Zoning Code to reflect the true nature of the residential character of certain blocks within Community District 6 . These Blocks include First, Second, Third and Fourth Place between Henry Street and Smith Street. Also the application includes properties on Carroll, President Streets between Hoyt Street and Smith Streets which blocks are part of the Carroll Gardens Historic District..

These blocks are the signature blocks for Carroll Gardens. Historically these blocks were first mapped in 1846 by Richard Butts a City Surveyor. (See History of Carroll Gardens; Jeanette Jeanes, 1970) This was one of the first planned communities in Brooklyn and the New York City. Indeed no such plan exist anywhere in the entire United States. (See Francis Marrone, Noted Historian and Lecturer). The "Place Streets" in Carroll Gardens are physically narrow and include the large front gardens of the building. These gardens are set back 33 and 1f2 •. 5 ft. from the back end of the side walk. These sidewalks are 13 ft wide from curb to the back end of the garden. The streets were 24 ft. wide and described as "carriage ways" The front gardens are and remain property

owned by the City of New York. The adjoining property owner bears the burden of maintaining such gardens. To this day these dimensions and conditions for these streets and gardens have not been altered.

The adoption of the New York City zoning code in 1961 defined streets in general as the area between the building lines of properties on opposite sides of a street. Were the distance between the property lines exceeds 75 ft. the street was classified as a "Wide" street. Where the distance between the property was less than 75 feet the street was classified as a "Narrow" street

The Wide Streets have been generally applied to arterial streets Such as Court Street or Atlantic Ave. The Narrow Street designation has been generally applied to the side streets which were generally residential streets.

Due to the fact that the Wide Streets are generally arterial streets they can generally accommodate larger buildings in height and width and bulk.

Due to this definition an unintended anomaly has occurred in Carroll Gardens.

Because of the definition of wide streets as set out in the zoning code these physically narrow streets can be classified as wide streets. This has created a classic "loop hole".in the zoning code

Many developers and builders are taking advantage of this situation and contend that this residential streets can be used as wide streets and that out of scale large buildings can be built on these side residential streets. The first such construction has already started on the comer of Second Place and Smith Street. The "Oliver House" building is a residential complex (131 Second Place) where the builder plans to put SEVEN STORY houses with a height of 70 feet on Second Place and tie them into a complex of condominiums on Smith Street with a glass tower at the comer of Smith and Second Street.

The residents of Carroll Gardens through their community association, the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association have been very vocal on the matter and have expressed great disappointment in the lack of public action to stop this out-of-scale development from occurring in historic Carroll Gardens. This issue has been the topic of discussion at more than five well published community meeting held through out 2007 and 2008. (See CGNA Monthly Meeting Agenda for 2007 and 2008)

In a letter from Borough President Marty Markowitz to Commissioner Amada M. Burden, dated January 2, 2008 he has requested the City Planning Commission to review the matter an take appropriate action .. In the letter he raises the fact that more than 600 building enlargement applications for buildings along physically narrow streets have been filed. (EXHIBIT A). If such development were to occur it would devastate the area and radically change the character, look and nature of what we have historically known as Carroll Gardens.

In response to the letter Commissioner Burden and Director of the Brooklyn Office of the Department of City Planning ,Purnima Kapur, filed on March 27, 2008 a Land Use Review Application (No 080345 ZRK) to correct the unintended consequence of the application of the wide street definition to the physically narrow residential streets as exist in Carroll Gardens. (EXHIBIT B).

Support for this action has been received from Craig Hammerman, Director of Community Board 6 at hearing held on April 24, 2008. Further Councilmen Bill DeBlasio has been supportive of this change and has widely published this hearing.

On the issue of Notice to the Community, this week a front page story explaining the issues in detail appeared in the Cobble/Carroll Courier. (EXHIBIT C). According to the publication 11,000 copies have been distributed in the area.

In addition, the CGNA Association with the help of its members has blanketed the Place Blocks with the Notice of this meeting. (EXHIBIT D). A Notice with explanation was delivered to each house on each ofthe Place Blocks.

Further flyers with misinformation, inaccurate statements, false claims and untrue allegations have also been distributed in the neighborhood this week. These flyers are unsigned, unsupported and unidentified as to the author of these unfounded accusations. Although these flyers serve to indicate that notice of the meeting has been received by the community, the intent, purpose and motive of the creators and distributors of such material must be viewed with a great deal of suspicion. (EXHIBIT E)

Lastly I applaud the actions of Commissioner Burden, Director Kapur, Director Hammerman, Chairman Bashner, Councilmen Bill deBlasio Assembly Member Millman, Borough President Markowitz , the Officers of CGNA and all organizations and individuals who have supported this cause to correct an unintended but potentially exploited consequence of the zoning code.



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........