Sunday, June 1, 2008

Former NYS Assemblyman AND 70 CG year resident speaks in support of Zoning Text Amendment

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




To: Marty Markowitz, Borough president, Brooklyn

Dear Sir:

Where did the WIDE STREET concept come from?

Pursuant to the laws of 1846 & 1850, (copies previously submitted),


Between Henry Street on the West, and Smith street on the east,

were created and mapped for residential development.

The streets, which were originally called CARRIAGE WAYS,

Were Established at only TWENTY-FOUR (24) FEET wide, no larger than any other street lying in a WEST to ESAT direction, in the immediate area of Carroll Gardens.

The laws further provided for THIRTEEN (13) FEET sidewalks on

each side of the CARRIAGE WAYS. The laws further provided for the building lines on each side of the SIDEWALKS be set back an additional THIRTY-THREE FEET, FIVE AND ONE QUARTER INCHES (33’ 5 ¼ “) to create an area to be designated as COURTYARDS only.

As residential buildings were developed, the COURTYARDS were to be used and controlled “exclusively by the adjoining landowner”. The COURTYARDS had restrictive covenants thereon, such as, building thereon was not permitted.

There is nothing stated in the laws of 1846 and 1850 that indicate these PLACE-BLOCKS were to be considered WIDE STREETS. In my 70 plus years I do not recall any PUBLIC REVIEW or any procedure resembling a ULURP procedure to declare them WIDE STREETS.

Since 1846 & 1850 until recently, there was never an issue of WIDE STREETS. It is only within the last couple of years, the BUILDING DEPARTMENT (or the Department of City Planning, in their “infinite wisdom” , ADMINISTRATIVELY, not as a result of any open community forum, and/or review, declared them WIDE STREETS. And, as a result, started to issue building permits to Developers permitting them to build up to SEVENTY (70) FEET in an area where existing buildings are only 45 to 50 feet.

As a result Developers are DESTROYING our neighborhood for profit, based on an “ADMINISTRATIVE LOOPHOLE” created by the Building Department and the Department of City Planning. It appears they are using the distance between the face of the buildings on the north side of the street to the face of the buildings on the south side of the street , amounting to ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN FEET (116’) TEN AND A HALH INCHES (10 ½ “) to classify it as a WIDE STREET.

They failed to take the STREET as it was originally planned is only TWENTY-FOUR FETT wide. Certainly NOT a WIDE STREET by any imagination.

So, I repeat, where did the WIDE STREET concept come from? It certainly did not come from the laws of 1846 & 1850, the laws that actually created these Streets (Places).

There is only one nswer:

The Building Department and/or The Department of City Planning ADMINISTRATIVELY made the decision to classify them as WIDE STREETS, in error of the mathematics above, to permit developers to build their “OUT OF CONTEXT” buildings and heights and destroy our neighborhood.

There is one on Fourth Place; One on Second Place; One on Third Place; and another one being planned on Third Place. Currently there is one being built on the corner of First Place, near the corner of Smith Street, and another being built on Second Place at the corner of Smith Street over the Carroll Street Subway Station. This one is unique; the address was originally promoted as 360 Smith Street, but the actual entrance to the residential building will be on Second Place. Since the Developer is using the WIDE STREET concept of Second Place, he recently changed the address to 131 Second Place.

This charade must be stopped.

I respectfully urge the Borough President to advise the Department of City Planning to expedite the reversal of the WIDE STREET concept to its original status as NARROW STREETS as it was originally intended. I further request that this procedure be accmplish4ed by ADMINISTRATIVE process rather than a lengthy public review which would only permit these developers to continue their destruction of our community.

Frank. J. Verderame

Former NYS Assemblyman

Cc: Copies of the Laws of 1846 & 1850

(previously submitted by mail)


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........