Monday, June 9, 2008

Provokative Public Hearing Testimony; NOW? for Deep Reforms at the DOB?? and Gowanus Lounge is back up and running!

Good afternoon from CORD! We are continuing to run the testimonies of your neighbors who have spoken out so eloquently IN FAVOR of the Zoning Text Amendment proposed by the Commissioner of City Planning, Amanda Burden.

Today we feature that of a CORD Co-Founder!

For these other top stories, please see below

  • The latest on Deep Reforms at the DOB
  • The mighty Gowanus Lounge Blog is thankfully back after a horror weekend with a "horror" server!

Testimony Read at last week's Department of City Planning Commission Public Hearing on June 4th:

Commissioners Burden, Kapur, Esteemed Panel

Good morning. My name is Rita Miller. I am a lifelong, third generation Carroll Gardens resident, a CORD member, and the owner of two properties on Second Place.

For those of us who choose to make our houses, our homes, we know that the price we pay for oversized development is a diminishment in the quality of our lives--- a commodity which no glossy real estate magazine can place a per square foot price tag upon—

Our unique front gardens established the creation of this “wide street” situation, an apparently unintentional side effect of the Quality Housing regulations established in 1987, and the groundwork for just such out of context development was laid.

I think that this text amendment is a wonderful idea and getting this clarification adopted, as is, as swiftly as possible will help to relieve our situation.

Several modifications have been suggested; one argument for such being that the adoption of this amendment will encourage and reward developers for employing height factor. I ‘m no expert, but it seems obvious even to me that the availability of existing, appropriate locations for this type of construction on these affected blocks is severely limited, the probability of assembling a suitable location is, at best, slim and even if this assemblage were acquired, with only a 10% maximum achievable increase in FAR, the expenditure involved versus the possible finished product, seems neither cost effective nor sensible. Perhaps that is why, on the comparably designed, residential streets within Carroll Gardens, there are no examples of height factor being employed.

Therefore, delaying this amendment’s rapid passage to the Council, for this, or any other modification, could only serve to jeopardize our contextual rezoning aspirations by allowing the continuing creation of more non-compliancy than what is permitted by the R5B&6B classifications already requested for these very streets.

So, I like this amendment just the way it is. A reduction in FAR is a small price to pay for some salvation. I want to thank you, Ms Burden, Ms Kapur and Ms Posner. We needed this quirk corrected and you responded with a thoughtful, legitimate, reasonable and effective remedy. Bravo!

Once in place, we will at least, and at last, be standing on the same level zoning playing field as the rest of our neighborhood—these blocks, the heart and soul of Carroll Gardens, painstakingly planned, so long ago, by the talented and visionary Mr.Richard Butts, will be able to breathe a bit easier, while we await the contextual rezoning we still so desperately need and pursue historic preservation to further protect this neighborhood that we love.

No one can undo the damage that has already been done as a result of this fateful oversight----additional delay will most assuredly encourage more harm. Please don’t allow our downzoning to be further compromised.

Thank you. Rita Miller

Reforms? at the DOB? at long last? From Gowanus Lounge Today:

"Upcoming: A New Call for Department of Buildings Reform"

June 9th, 2008 ·

Stop Work Order Banner

Could deep reform of the Department of Buildings be an issue whose time has come, given two horrendous crane collapses (plus several arrests) this year? Well, there’s a press conference to call for reforms that will be taking place on Thursday at Noon at City Hall. Per an email:

In light of the Deutsche Bank building disaster and the two recent high-profile crane accidents, community activists and elected officials are coming together to demand reforms at the Department of Buildings. Mayor Bloomberg’s recent proposals are a step in the right direction , but now he has to work with community groups that have been advocating for DOB reform for years. Construction deaths are not limited to cranes, so it is important to address the bigger issues, and not just react to the news of the week.

Read more ahead". (GL).

Finally: Our last item for today:

The recent GL (Gowanus Lounge) outage was unfortunately caused by a lousy server! Read all about why NEVER!! to use Lunar pages at this link!

Also if you are still being re-directed to Lunar Pages, please clear out your browser cache and delete a cookie from Lunarpages. (This author did this very easily on my PC by going to TOOLS on my Toolbar and in the pulldown menu I selected "Clear private data" where the options to clear both the cache and cookies are easily found.) My cookie disappeared immediately and so did my problems getting to the GL page!

(Sounds a bit like OREOS and dollar bills doesn't it?) GL is calling it: the Lunarpages Cookie From Hell.



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........