Friday, May 9, 2008

More Testimony from theText Amendment Hearing at the Boro Pres's Office

CORD is so proud of all the Carroll Gardens neighbors who turned out for the Borough President's hearing on May 7, 2008 in support of the Text Amendment!
We are so pleased to have some of the testimonials delivered in person, or in writing here for you to read and enjoy. We will be posting new testimony daily. Please feel free to write or otherwise contact the Borough President at: ..
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
(718) 802-3700
and tell him how you feel about correcting the wide street loophole!
Read, enjoy and be proud of your neighbors below:
We will continue to post some of the testimony daily. If you would like to see your testimony published here on our blog please send it to: Thank you! CORD

May 6, 2008
Hon. Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Dear Marty:

As both an architect at Pentagram Architecture and a resident/owner on one of the so called ‘Wide Streets’ in Carroll Gardens it would seem that my economic and career interests would favor the current zoning language allowing outsized development on these blocks. But I am absolutely opposed to it and I urge you to do everything in your power to undo this egregious loophole.

The peculiar ownership condition on these blocks (with the city owning the front courts and the streets therefore being defined as ‘Wide Streets’ in the zoning code) should not be allowed to stand. It is a clear unintended consequence of generalized regulations and benefits no one who really cares about the neighborhood.

Revising the language will protect the integrity and scale of our neighborhood. Allowing it to stand will mean the gradual loss of the character and consistency of these remarkable blocks. The construction of apartment buildings in place of houses will forever destroy the beloved streets that give Carroll Gardens its name.

There are those who claim that owners will be losing valuable rights: but how can a mistake be considered a ‘right’? The process of continuously correcting such errors is one of the basic functions of good government.

There are those who claim people will not be able to build back a home destroyed by fire: but only a very small percentage of the homes currently exceed the proposed regulations and even those can be built back under most conditions. Should we destroy a neighborhood to protect the negligible risk to a single home?

There are those that claim that residents don’t know about the ‘rights’ they are about to ‘lose’. But on my block alone most of my neighbors not only know about this, but have actively campaigned for the change. They realize that their economic interests are actually in favor of preservation, not destruction.

What kind of homeowner wants to build a building nearly twice the height of his neighbors? One who is selling his home to a developer and leaving the neighborhood, most likely. Should we be working to protect the ‘rights’ of owners who want to profit at the expense of the neighborhood they are abandoning?

The rest of Carroll Gardens owners should have no more right to build 75’ high apartments buildings than the residents of the garden blocks should. We must reverse this mistake and stop the destruction that will result from the loophole.

With your help, and with the voices of all of us who love the neighborhood more than we would love the chance to ‘cash in’ on an unfair loophole, we can begin to protect Carroll Gardens from outsized development.

Very truly yours,
James Biber
Second Street
Carroll Gardens


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........