Monday, July 7, 2008

The Red Flag Before Gowanus Development

This week's Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Courier (July 4th issue) features a front page article by Gary Buiso titled,
"Built on Muck: Contaminated Gowanus Clouds Future Development"

In it, several prominent locals are somberly voicing their concerns as to the wisdom of situating a residential development atop such a severely contaminated site.

"This is one of the most polluted sites to ever have housing on it-and that only raises the level of concern," states Roy Sloane, Community Board 6 Landmarks/Land Use Committee member on page 1.

"If one person gets cancer or gets sick, I will never be able to live with myself," he is quoted as saying later in the same article (p.34).

Another Committee Member, Pauline Blake, is quoted as saying to the development committee, "Your design is going ahead prior to the completion of the clean-up. How do we know it will be clean enough?" (p.34).

Buiso writes, "The importance of a proper clean-up of the Public Place site can hardly be underestimated. Coal tar which can be hazardous to human has been found 150 feet below the surface. 774 units of housing in nine buildings whose heights will range from 6 to 12 stories are planned for the site" (p. 1, 34).

Bob Levine, the chair of the landmarks committee commented, "Too many variables exist to welcome the plan carte blanche", and, "You're putting the cart before the horse" in response to the planning of development phase that is already occurring before the clean-up of the site" (p.34).

Because environmental clean-ups and safety concerns affect us ALL here in Carroll Gardens, not only those of us living near Public Place, we are wise to keep our eyes clearly focused on this clean-up before anyone makes Public Place: "Home".

(See the complete article at the Courier website or at the newsstands this week)


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........