Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association
7 May 2008
Borough President Marty Markowitz,
Ms Amanda Burden, CPC Chair and DCP Director, Ms Purnima Kapur, DCP
Community Board Six
Public Hearing of the Borough President’s office
Re.: Land Use Review Application N080345,
My name is John Hatheway. I come before you as a co-chair of the Land Use and Zoning committee of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, and as a 25-year resident of
Let me state that I am strongly supportive of the proposed amendment and I, along with numerous other residents, have been working on addressing this wide-street anomaly for nearly a year. In September of last year I produced drawings that interpreted the 1846 law that created this planned community and I presented these drawings for discussion at various general public meetings of the CGNA. On October 1st, 2007, I submitted a letter to Magdi Mossad, the Brooklyn Borough Commissioner of the Department of Buildings, requesting that the DOB interpret these garden blocks as “narrow” streets in light of the 1846 law that explicitly defined their street width as 50 feet, thus a narrow street.
Then, 21 years ago, in 1987, the Quality Housing Program was enacted as a part of the zoning resolution. Its intention? I quote from the Zoning Resolution:
The Quality Housing Program is established to foster the provision of multi-family housing that:
(a) is compatible with existing neighborhood scale and character;
(b) provides on-site recreation space to meet the needs of its occupants; and
(c) is designed to promote the security and safety of the residents.
The significant here point is paragraph (a): compatibility with neighborhood scale and character. The bonuses it gave were slightly more bulk (floor area, height and lot coverage) than would otherwise be permitted. But it distinguished between development on wide streets and narrow streets. Wide streets were assumed to be avenue-type streets where taller bulkier buildings were generally found and were to be promoted. Narrow streets were assumed to be side streets of a lower scale. The text did not take into account the anomaly of these side-street garden blocks. Neither did the street width definition in the zoning resolution address the special condition of the courtyards, separate from the street, that were created in 1846.
I am very pleased that the city has listened to our neighborhood’s concerns and responded with this text amendment that restores the understanding of these garden-block, side streets as “narrow” streets. I particularly want to thank Purima Kapur and Jen Posner of the
Thank you for this opportunity to testify and to urge you to support this text amendment.
John H. Hatheway, Jr.