Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dear Councilman Brad Lander: The "Community Input" process in "Bridging Gowanus" is/was a total FARCE!

CG CORD recent submitted the following comments re: the supposed “community” framework thats is “Bridging Gowanus”

Dear Councilman Brad Lander:

The "community based" Bridging Gowanus framework supposedly represents our community's wishes and input for the future.

We at CORD, feel as though it is a more specific part of the community, the Real Estate Developers Community that is represented instead.

CORD attended two of the three meetings. It is extremely difficult to understand where a great deal of the actual Gowanus, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope community voices as presented here, came from. They were certainly not within our earshot.

We heard residents and business owners expressing concerns regarding current infrastructure inadequacies and how analysis of the current as well as a plan for the future would be necessary to support any further development.

We heard voices clearly expressing disdain for out of context, oversized dense development--- using the spot-rezoned Lightstone project as a specific example of what they wished to avoid.

We heard residents and business owners speaking of their growing community as a place where residential and commercial use was not only thriving but cohabiting happily---and a desire to allow that happy union to continue to grow.

We heard quite a lot of distaste expressed for the final questionnaire--a survey with content worded within such narrow context that it was both inappropriate and insulting.

What we saw in the framework was a sentence that said a few refused to fill out the survey but no explanation as to why--which we know was written on those pages!

For CORD, that survey represented the entire Bridging Gowanus exercise. It was obvious that the plan was to reach the point where that survey could be filled out and then labeled the "voice of the people".

The questionnaire zeroed in on trade offs. That is when you give the developers more stories on their buildings in exchange for amenities.

We question the feasibility of some of the trade offs suggested. For example, extra floors for a NYC Library? NYC park space?

On whose property would these amenities sit? Who would build, fund, insure and maintain them for the use by the community? All of that was a bit fuzzy and was not covered (or even mentioned) when we were cleverly asked if we would "give"  2 or 3 or 4 stories in return for these and other amenities.

So, as participants, it strikes us that this "planning" was simply the groundwork for a Stoler Report episode.

You know that cable TV show where a panel of wealthy developer heavy hitters sit around and talk about the great real estate "opportunities" that are out there in whatever neighborhood (s) are on the plate that day.

Those fellas' attitudes so often remind us of the old movies where the Greek gods of Olympus move the lives of the mortals down on earth for their own amusement---the effects on those mortals mildly entertaining and never important.

It is abundantly clear that the whole Milking---oops, Bridging Gowanus process was engineered to eventually allow the possibility for lucrative developer opportunities--and we will be 'on the plate' very soon.

So, let's just call this what it is----a green lit script for an upcoming episode on the Stoler Report------brought to you by, Your Councilman, Brad Lander.



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........