Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday: Brooklyn Bridge Park meeting at LICH

Today's CB6 Park's Committee meeting will include:
-  a discussion with Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation President Regina Myers on the status of the approved Brooklyn Bridge Park plans including updates on the ongoing site preparation work, projected construction phasing/timetables, and other matters related to the park. 
- a discussion with State Senator Daniel Squadron who will be sharing his ideas for how the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park should proceed, including a proposal to change the revenue structure of the park.
CoWNA's Executive Committee has met with the Senator and is in support of his proposal, primarily because it would eliminate the need for any additional housing in the park. 

This is a public meeting, we encourage everyone to attend.

Wednesday, May 20th 6:30pm
LICH, 339 Hicks Street, Conference Rooms A and B

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brooklyn City Planning presentation to CB6 Land Use Committee 5/14/09

These notes and comments were prepared by CoWNA Land Use committee chairperson Norman Cox:

This presentation was characterized as informational since the rezoning has not yet been certified. Formal public review process has not yet started. It is hoped that certification will be granted by 1 June 2009. It is important to note that after certification, City Planning will resist changes to the proposal.

The presentation started with an explanation of how the boundary of the study area was determined. The study area encompasses all of Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront area. It contains only the existing R6 and commercial zones; the study area includes no manufacturing zones.

We were shown maps of the existing zoning, existing uses and density represented by floor area ratio (FAR). The review of the existing conditions in the study area included photos of typical buildings in the area as well as photos of buildings that are considered out-of-context. The out-of-context buildings were presented as examples of the kind of undesirable development that the rezoning proposal is designed to prevent.

The rezoning proposal was characterized as a ‘preservation’ plan with the goal being to preserve the essential character of the neighborhoods while allowing some room for development. There are two main features of the plan: 1) change all current R6 zones to ‘contextual’ zones (R6A, R6B, R7A) and 2) adjust the commercial zones to reduce the risk of commercial uses spreading up the side streets and/or taking over residential buildings.

The proposal affects the Waterfront district as follows:
1) The Columbia Waterfront residential zones, which are R6 (FAR 2.43), will become R6B, but along Columbia Street from Degraw to Woodhull would be zoned R6A. R6B allows for a 2.0 maximum FAR, R6A allows for a 3.0 FAR. City Planning’s rationale for this up zoning is that they would like to promote Columbia Street as a commercial strip and they believe that the extra FAR is necessary so that a developer who provide commercial space still has enough floor area left to create a profitable residential building.
2) The commercial zone will be changed from C2-1 to C2-4 to allow expanded list of allowable uses. Many of the additional uses already exist, and this change would basically legalize them.
3) The east side of Tiffany Pl. would be rezoned R7A which reflects the large scale of the existing buildings there. The west side of the street would be R6A.

The rezoning to R6A or R6B has the following benefits:
1) Buildings will have a fixed height limit: for R6A it is 60’ at the street then 70’ after a 15’ setback. For R6B the maximum heights would be 40’ at the street then 50’ after a 15’ setback.
2) The ability to use the higher FAR of a community facility to increase the total area of a building will be eliminated.

We have a number of reservations about the proposed R6A zoning along Columbia Street:
1) The demand for commercial space along Columbia Street is not great; there is a relatively small population living within the adjacent blocks, and the lack of crossings at the BQE is a disincentive to crossing over from Carroll Gardens. We are not confident that a lot of additional commercial space could be absorbed.
2) There is a risk that developers would devote ground floor space to parking rather than commercial space, which would increase the height of the building and eliminate active use of the ground floor.
3) Many of the buildings along Columbia Street are in fair to poor condition and may be torn down to make way for larger developments (east side at the corner of Degraw).
4) There are potential development sites in the manufacturing zones along Columbia (west side between Degraw & Sackett, at the corner of Summit, east side at Woodhull), which would be attractive to developers willing to pursue private rezonings. Such private rezonings would be to R6A to match the adjacent zone.
5) For buildings developed on larger lots, the resulting buildings may be out of scale: City Planning’s own Zoning Handbook states that R6A buildings “typically produce…six or seven story apartment buildings”.

Please provide comments as quickly as possible so that we may forward them to City Planning Staff as they conclude the study and prepare for certification.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kayaking in Red Hook

This just in from the Red Hook Boaters:

Ahoy Friends and Neighbors,

This Saturday, from 12-5pm is your first chance to Kayak around Valentino Pier this season and to help the Red Hook Boaters paint the new Kayak Shack at the end of Coffey Street. This event is part of the It's my Park Day with Parks and Recreation and other organizations, including Portside NY who will be helping a hand so it's a great opportunity to get involved. Wear a bathing suit, or shorts and a T-Shirt, sunscreen and bring water to drink. see:

The Boaters are also open on Sunday (5/17 from 1-5pm) but before or after you kayak, see Budd Schulberg's Iconic Play "On the Waterfront" aboard the Waterfront Museum across from Fairway. Say "the Gowanus Dredgers sent me" and an extra $5 contribution will be made to support the museum (in addition to your ticket purchase). The museum will be traveling soon so this is your last chance to see an event before their departure! see:

In June, the Museum returns with an unusual crew of CircuSundays performers and you are encouraged to purchase tickets ASAP before they sell out! Of course, there will be Red Hook Kayaking every Sunday in June so be sure to get on the water! see:

NYCDOT Focus Group members needed to gauge public transportation needs‏

Since many of us live according to the whims of the B61 and B71, it may be of interest that the Downtown Brooklyn Surface Transit Circulation Study of the NYCDOT is looking for participants in focus groups to better gauge the public transportation needs of our neighborhood:

"The Downtown Brooklyn Surface Transit Circulation Study Project Team is asking for your support in identifying potential participants for an upcoming series of focus groups. As mentioned at the first stakeholder meeting, these focus groups will help the Project Team to identify and profile the distinct travel experiences, perceptions, expectations, and preferences of the community. The focus groups will provide direct feedback on a number of travel issues including:

  • levels and patterns of transit use and assessment of services
  • key origins and destinations within the study area
  • locations served and unserved by transit
  • span of service and service frequencies of transit services
  • walking conditions along routes to transit stops and at transit stops
  • walking conditions along routes unserved by transit

The participants will be organized into two groups: 1) Residents and Community groups, and 2) Business Owners/Managers and Employees. These groupings will best represent the residential and commercial standpoints on existing surface transit in Downtown Brooklyn".

Contact Frederick Fooy (publicservices [ a t ] if you'd like to participate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Public Services Committee meeting tomorrow at 7:00PM

The monthly Public Services Committee meeting will be held at the Post-Graduate Center on Columbia Street between 7:00 and 8:00PM on Wednesday, May 13. Welcome!

Meeting about future BQE renovation Tuesday Evening

This evening, the BQE Stakeholders Association will be holding a meeting regarding the future of the triple-cantilever section of the BQE, which is the section that runs north of Atlantic Avenue and includes the Promenade. The state Department of Transportation is launching a study to decide how to renovate the structure, and the study is scheduled to end in 2017, after which the construction is supposed to begin. There are several questions regarding the construction, including how the traffic is supposed to be diverted, noise reduction, and enviromental concerns.

The meeting is held at 6:30PM, tonight, May 12, at the NYU Polytechnic University, Dibner Building, Pfizer Auditorium, 5 Metrotech Center (corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Road resurfacing on Hamilton Ave.

This info. was passed to us by Ellen Whelan-Wuest from State Senator Squadron's office - and a neighborhood resident!

We have just been informed by the Department of Transportation that as part of their seasonal street resurfacing work they will be including the northbound (inbound) segment of Hamilton Avenue between 2nd Avenue and Van Brunt Street in our district. Because of the heavy, daily traffic demands on this important street, DOT has scheduled this work to take place at night only. Effective Monday, May 4, 2009 they will begin milling the street. Milling is the process of stripping away the top few inches of asphalt to (i) recapture the material as recycled asphalt product (RAP) which is reused as an aggregate material at the plant, (ii) to scarify the surface for enhanced adhesion of the new asphalt surface material, and (iii) to ensure proper drainage by maintaining the street grade below the curb reveal. When the milling crew completes their work, a followup resurfacing crew will apply the new surface. There is a lag time between these crews, typically up to 2-3 weeks. When the resurfacing crew completes their work, a final crew will reapply the markings. There will be a lag between these crews as well. All street work is dependent on weather and field conditions, so schedules are subject to change.

Thanks Ellen!

City Planning re-zoning plan presentation

City Planning will be making their first public presentation of their re-zoning proposal for Carroll Gardens and the Columbia Waterfront District in response to our two neighborhood's requests and re-zoning proposals. City Planning will be presenting to the Community Board 6 Landmarks/ Land Use committee. The CB6 announcement and meeting details are below:

Presentation and discussion of the Department of City Planning’s proposed Carroll Gardens Contextual Rezoning study, a proposal to contextually rezone the residential zoning district which covers the Carroll Gardens and Columbia Street Waterfront neighborhoods.

P.S. 58 Auditorium 330 Smith Street (between Carroll St & 1st Place) Brooklyn NY 11231
Thursday, May 14th at 6:30 PM