DeBlasio caught in the act
This week, Councilman Bill DeBlasio agreed to withdraw an ill-advised attempt to hide a key land-use change from his Carroll Gardens constituents — but the backtrack came only after a reporter from this newspaper and the excellent neighborhood blog Pardon Me for Asking discovered DeBlasio’s secretive move on behalf of a politically connected private school.
Here’s what happened: Thanks to a quirk in city law, the front yards of houses on First through Fourth places in Carroll Gardens are actually mapped as part of the street, which is why houses on those blocks are set back so far from the roadway.
One of those “front yards” is actually a parking lot for the Hannah Senesh School, which wants to build a two-story addition on the land.
But the school can’t move forward unless the city administrative code is changed.
Enter Bill DeBlasio....."
But the parking lot in question, along First Place at the corner of Smith Street, is not merely a piece of city-owned land, but an architectural feature that is fundamental to the neighborhood. Indeed, such deep lots along First though Fourth places are what give Carroll Gardens its name.
After widespread complaints that DeBlasio’s exception would set a dangerous precedent, the Councilman, who becomes the public advocate on Jan. 1, withdrew his amendment....."
DeBlasio carves out exception for well-connected school
"Has Councilman Bill DeBlasio sold out his district in one of his last official acts before becoming public advocate?
That’s what many Carroll Gardens residents are charging, days after their Democratic councilman slipped an amendment into a Council bill that would exempt a well-connected private school — and only that private school — from long-established zoning that protects the front yards of Carroll Gardens.
The amendment would allow Hannah Senesh School, which is on Smith Street between First and Second places, to move ahead with a plan for the additional classrooms on the side lot on First Place, which is currently used as for parking.
It may sound like a simple transfer of land, but that Hannah Senesh side lot is not just a parking lot, but an architectural feature that is fundamental to the neighborhood — indeed, such lots are what give Carroll Gardens its name. And many fear that DeBlasio’s exception — slipped into a bill protecting all the other lots on First through Fourth places — will set a dangerous precedent....."