Class Conflict at Tuesday’s Domino Scoping Hearing

At yesterday’s Domino scoping hearing, according to the Atlantic Yards Report, the battle was pitched between middle-class, largely white residents who dislike the project’s density and design against church and community groups representing the lower-income, largely minority folks whose main concern is creating as much affordable housing as possible. The greatest tragedy is that this is putting Williamsburg residents against each other, said one 20-year resident. Surely we have the ability to build affordable housing and preserve neighborhood character. Father Jim O’Shea, director of Churches United, provided another perspective: We have no need of this project unless the principal focus is affordable housing. In typical style, AYR coverage and analysis is extremely thorough so we’ll avoid rehashing further in this space. Check the link for more details.
Affordable Housing the Focus at Domino Hearing [AY Report] GMAP
CPC Shows and Tells Its Plans for Domino [Brownstoner]
Plans for ‘New Domino’ Released by City Planning [Brownstoner]

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  • isn’t that struggle going on all over the borough?

  • Hoo boy, well, we know where this thread is gonna go.

    Not to get all capitalist up in here, but it’s amazing how many people with no connection to or ownership stake in this property are willing to offer their opinions of what absolutely must be done with it. I’m all for affordable housing, both for the middle class and those less fortunate–but I’m not sure people demanding a cheap place to live should expect it to have million-dollar Manhattan views. Nor should the Wall Street whities in Schaefer Landing be pissing and moaning about a little traffic–what, you prefer a vacant, rusting hulk directly on the waterfront? Sheesh.

    Here’s a novel idea: How about if the future of this incredibly valuable and underutilized land gets decided by the people who OWN it?

  • your right, 11:44, and while we’re at it, let’s bring back the monarchy. sheeesh, why is it so hard for some people to understand that residents are invested in their neighborhoods even without property ownership.

    and how can you complain, “Hoo boy, well, we know where this thread is gonna go,” when you then follow one of the most well-trod routes? this is my biggest gripe about this blog. given the opportunity to discuss the real benefits and demerits of a project, posters regularly choose instead to debate philosophical meta-topics, throwing up a bunch of straw-men for others to knock down.

  • Well, 11:52, you’re right–I did take the class-war bait. Sorry. It just seems ridiculous to me that anybody would expect waterfront property in New York City to be a bargain.

    Okay, what are the residential possibilities of this unusual old building? I read that the owners are having trouble conceiving of a good way to make apartments work in here, and I can understand why. Lots of old, square, manufacturing and warehouse buildings result in skinny, cave-like lofts with only one window. If they can get past that, is there a way to have a mix of market-rate condos and lower-priced units to dispense via lottery or something? What incentivizes a developer to do that–tax breaks? And do the anti-density folks have a valid point? I mean, wouldn’t it be much less impactful on the nabe to have a couple hundred residential units versus the industrial, heavy trucks that came and went through the Domino gates for decades?

  • 12:23 has an excellent point. The owner should be the sole decision-maker for the future of this site. “The community” is irrelevant and should have no say. If you don’t like it, then buy your own strip of waterfront property and turn it all into housing projects.

  • Thanks, 12:23. Yes, waterfront housing projects– perhaps with rooftop cabanas. Good luck with that!

  • The owner is free to do what they want the site. Right now its zoned for manufacturing use, and within that use restriction, they can do what they will. However, rezoning the site for residential use (or whatever) is a discretionary action that requires public review and approval. The community – all aspects of it – is entitled to weigh in on that discretionary action. And the City, by granting a rezoning, is turning a $55 million investment into a $1 billion property, so it has a right to ask for things like affordable housing and historic preservation.

  • Ask, but you won’t receive. Say hello to more upscale condos.

  • yes, the owner owns it. and yes the city controls zoning laws. and the means politicians, and guess who politicians represent? the community. get it?

  • As disscussed previously this would make an excellent museum. The surronding area could be converted to a waterfront park with maybe some small commerical activitiy. This would benefit the community more due to increased tourism and in the end could fast track planned public transportation improvements to the area.

  • first things first, jgny–you’re a retard. a museum is the last thing the site should be. when you first hear the whole museum-tate-modern idea it sounds good…but it’s really a selfish, poorly thought out idea. converting a 6 block area into a sort of mega-museum historic preservation is just stupid. even dedicating a half block to it is naive. preservation is expensive and a large museum creates comparable density/strains on wburg and gives much less back. speculating about potential jobs and tourism money that people think a museum would generate seems to be a waste of time. affordable housing in a rapidly displaced community is much more needed. this would benefit more people than well to do brooklynites and manhattan dwellers who want to gaze at an expensive art-relic for their own sake.

    with that said, affordable housing should be developed in a smart way. cpc’s proposal would create some serious problems. affordable housing shouldn’t come at the expense of the greater community and shouldn’t have to necessitate enormous density. nonetheless, it should be top priority.

  • If the developers just took a billion or so off the bazillion they will be making, there could be affordable housing (in a meaningful way, not the joke there is now) AND preservation (in a meaningful way, not the joke there is now). Instead they play the community for chumps and create divisiveness.

    The bad blood that this has created in the neighborhood really sucks. The affordable housing people call the preservationists “racist white kids.” The preservationists think the affordable housing people are selling out the neighborhood in exchange for a few crumbs from the developers. It is really horrible and makes me sad to watch.