At Rally, News of Carroll Gardens Downzoning Progress

About 50 people (and one well-dressed canine) showed at Borough Hall this morning to support the drive to downzone Carroll Gardens. Council Member Bill de Blasio organized the rally, and he had some big news to share: The Department of City Planning has officially committed to studying a downzoning of the neighborhood. The news comes hot on the heels of Planning’s announcement that it would initiate a a zoning text amendment to impose height limitations on 1st through 4th Place. De Blasio is also pushing for the city to impose building height limitations of 50 feet while the downzoning is studied. We want to limit heights until a legal downzoning goes through, de Blasio said at the rally. Representatives of Assemblywoman Nydia Velazquez and Assemblywoman Joan Millman also spoke in support of the downzoning, as did Gary Reilly of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association. What attracts people to the neighborhood is its low scale, said Reilly. We want to prevent Carroll Gardens from becoming the next Williamsburg, with developers throwing up buildings willy-nilly. De Blasio noted that downzonings typically take a year to a year and a half to push through, and time is of the essence in terms of downzoning Carroll Gardens since the clock is ticking on the current administration’s term.
Prelude to a Downzone in Carroll Gardens? [Brownstoner]
Update on Carroll Gardens Development Issues [Brownstoner]

33 Comment

  • These people need to get a life. The Department of City Planning cannot usurp legislative authority from the city council – I don’t know why these people seem to think that “the city” can or will impose a building height limit because this rabble sits outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. We have a process of law in this city; the insular residents of Carroll Gardens should receive no special treatment simply because they exist.

  • “what do we want?”

    “legislation to support sky-high property values in our wealthy neighborhood and divert development to neighborhoods other than ours!”

    “when do we want it?”



  • I was hoping for another Carroll Gardens post today. Carry on!

  • Polemcist,

    What are you talking about? De Blasio used his position to get City Planning to argee to a study. What’s wrong with community members asking their elected representative to help deliver municipal services? It’s the same notion as complaining to your community board or council member about the lack of garbage pick-up or the need for after-school programs – it’s how representative democracy works. The alternative is to sit there like shepe in a pen waiting for the wise shepherds to take care of us.

  • In the 1890’s people were able to build up to 8 stories. It’s 2008, land is very expensive, and we have more hard working people needing homes. So, what do the racist and selfish nimby haters do? They are trying to write into law to restrict housing.

    If there ever was a crime committed against these nimby groups, I and others would not feel sorry for them.

  • Oh my god 1:58, are you crrraaazy? So, there is a land rush of yuppies storming the streets of Brooklyn looking for housing? Give me a break and shut up.

  • Oh my god 2:07, are you crrraaazy? So, there is a land rush of yuppies storming the streets of Brooklyn looking for housing! Give me a break and shut up!

  • Man those don’t look like yuppies to me. They look like REAL PEOPLE!
    WOW!! And they look real bound and determined too. I sure don’t see any high end strollers or designer clothes anywhere…..I think these REAL people might be talking about REAL quality of life ISSUES! Could it be? Wonder which POL is courageous enough to listen? The developers have very deep pockets let us never forget. This looks to me like grassroots democracy if I ever saw it myself. Viva la Democracy Wall! Viva Carroll Gardens!

  • Those people look live losers to me. Did they all take a personal day to attend this? No, they didn’t. They don’t have jobs. They get their meals from welfare, they get their shelter from rent control, they get their phone line through the Universal Service Fund paid by other phone owners. These people are what’s wrong with the city and politicians. The city is catering to the people that do not contribute to the city but at the same time, they harm the people giving the city money and harm the people that are paying for these losers and keeping them alive!

    No, they are losers. Better if they just went away. Go home, leave.

  • I wonder which pols are courageous enough to pander. Besides Councilman de Blah Blah, I see representatives of Yvette Clarke, Marty Markowitz, Martin Connor, and Joan Millman. That’s right guys-hold a rally; you tell big, bad City Planning how it’s gonna be. How many neighborhoods already have requests for down-zoning in the pipeline? Too bad. Carroll Gardens goes to the front of the line. DUMBO was promised that its rezoning would happen at the same time as the recent landmarking. Oh well. They’ve waited over ten years already, so what’s a couple more? The problems in Carroll Gardens are worse than anywhere else. And they’re going to get it done in 18 months too! Fort Greene and Clinton Hill took three years, but that’s only cause those neighborhoods aren’t nearly as special as Carroll Gardens. Yeah, right.

  • My it seems like the nimbys are really losing control of this board.

    I have to say, the Carroll Gardens people I think have finally awoken the masses to the truth of what anti-development people are all about.

    It was only a matter of time honest goals like historical preservation would be perverted by insular conservatives. Now, maybe we’ll have a real building boom 1920s style! Let the city rise UP!!!

  • What a great nabe Carroll Gardens is and good for the people who live there to get this done. Great Job Carroll Gardens.

  • I live in this neighborhood and strongly oppose the downzoning. None of these people are renters. I want my daughter to be able to stay in her grandparents neighborhood. All the downzoning will do is drive up rents and drive down property values and tax receipts. Plus, it makes transit less efficient at the same time the same people want more F service. Hopefully City Planning will care enough about the city as a whole to reject this NIMBY jihad.

  • to 3:41 – you should be more worried about how your daughter is going to afford a apartment in a luxury condo hi-rise!

    If you are worried about the future then you should be listening better.The idea is not anti -development it is anti- out of context development!

    If someone built a 50ft building with affordable housing units in it- that would be a good thing!

  • I know at least one person in that picture is a renter. I can’t tell because the picture is in a profile but I think that might be Mr. Scotto who happens to be quite gainfully employed and I doubt he has any need for Universal Phone Service. And I do believe I spotted an architect in one of the pictures posted on Curbed.
    Well said 3:02. These are real people and they don’t take any gruff and see right through any BS. These are the people that make Carroll Gardens what it is.

  • Carroll gardens i am very proud.

  • Real people? These are real people? Really? I wonder who everybody else in the city are? Strange?

    Nimbys, when will you learn? You have taken a noble idea of preserving vanishing beautiful buildings and perverted the very core of the system so that nothing can grow in this city. Everything changes, it grows, falls apart, and gets built again to serve the community but trying to do what Paris did by making the city a museum is wrong and not the course this city should take.

    Nimbys really are the vocal minority. They shout and scream and act like little spoiled children when they don’t get their way. It is really impossible for them to fathom that others in the community don’t agree with them. Quite sad.

  • Well, maybe the people in the community who don’t agree with the supporters of a Carroll Gardens downzoning should contact DeBlasio and Millman especially if they are in the majority as you claim. The detractors can stage their own rally or post on the democracy wall. So far I haven’t seen that happening.

  • Oh, 3:07? Why don’t you shut up and “go home” or better yet, get back to work instead of spreading hate on a blog about people who care about overdevelopment in nice, Brownstone neighborhoods. Go back to Jersey where you belong.

  • This is the problem with activist politics. Instead of politics being a rational debate regarding the common good, it becomes a shouting match. Everyone wants to protest like they are MLK, even insular conservative rich folk like we have here.

    Who has the time to shout? The rich and unemployed. Sorry, I have a job. I can take 2 minutes to crank out a post, but spending hours picketing in front of Borough Hall is not worth my time.

    Brownstoner and sites like it are our method of voicing our opinions. You know DeBlasio reads this site (YEAH, I WON’T VOTE FOR YOU!)

  • Hmm. “NIMBY jihad?” I’m a renter. I was there. You think that building skyscrapers is gonna make the F line any less crowded? What are you talking about. Your granddaughter is NOT going to want to live in Brooklyn or New York by the time she is old enough to rent or buy because NYC will have become a huge, ugly GAP store with no personality.

  • I’m not a rich insular conservative. I’m a professional, creative working person and I happen to like my neighborhood the way it is. Why drag MLK into this? This isn’t a race riot. And no one spent “hours” anywhere. Glad you found these posts, 547, between trolling the porn and autobody sites at your dead-end, pencil pusing job while your supervisor is on break.

  • Polemicist,
    Why don’t you take two minutes and email DeBlasio instead of posting on Brownstoner and hoping that one of DeBlasio’s staff will read your posts and inform him of your concerns. It would carry a lot more credibility.

  • 6:26 – You are wasting your time trying to talk sense to the Poleguy. You would get a more intelligent response from the festively attired dog in the photo above.

  • They pulled it off in the south slope which was zoned R6 forever now tops off at 40 feet with R6B. They will succeed in get that re-zoned too. They will trade off for some upzoning somewhere else closeby and then cry about that later too. I am not sure if it has anything to do with affordable housing, rich people, yuppies, property values, or any of these alleged issues with the exception of parking. They bitch about that for sure. They just don’t want their slice of Idaho to change and wish to dictate how you will live within it. A diverse group for sure. All for the common good as long as they agree with it. Don’t disagree with this crowd else you be labeled uninteligent.

  • Now 4:13 clearly feels that the laws of supply and demand have been repealed. Downzoning, anyway you cut it, limits supply, less supply given equal or great demand yields higher prices (rents). That is what will happen here just like it happened in all the neighborhoods where downzoning has occurred. Since it caps how much space an owner can add to their building it restricts supply there too so the per square foot price goes up. However, since the buildable square footage goes down the total value of the building goes down. Downzoning manages to increase rents and the same time in decreases property values. Quite and accomplishment.

    Not for nothing it also limits tax receipts so the city’s ability to improve schools and infrastructure to adjust to population is also destroyed.

    I think these people are well meaning but narrow minded and not really very critical thinkers. I’ve been to many Carrol Gardens Neighborhood Association meetings and there are many genuinely mentally ill people who are easy to scare with horror stories about development. This is the “road to Hell is paved with good intentions” rule or its “unintended consequences” corollary.

    Some of the best buildings in South Brooklyn are well above the entirely arbitrary 50 foot height limit. All of these politicians have heard from me. If there is an anti-development majority in this neighborhood so what? These decisions do and should have to be made on a city wide basis.

    Who is running against DeBlasio? Anyone against down-zoning gets my vote.

  • It is reasonable to complain about “opposition to everything.” For instance When the Genovese (later Eckherdts, now Rite Aide) was suggested for Smith and President to replace a parking lots, neighbors complained, reversing Joni Mitchell’s Paving paradise. That was ridiculous. BUT, wanting to keep a landmark neighborhood? That’s NIMBY? That is one warped view of politics.

    So those wanting to drill in National parks are looking out for the poor people and those wanting to keep the beauty are keeping it for their rich selves who can afford camping trips?… no doubt with all the days off they have as nonworkers with rent control!

    I suppose the ancient ruins in the middle of Rome where I’m also sure they lack affordable housing should also go? Yes 100 year old buildings may not rank with the rest of the world as ancient, but they’re what we’ve got and towering over them with chrome monoliths twice their size certainly takes away from the quaintness. There does have to be a mix in a city and homeowners, renters, politicians have the right to want to keep their view without being called heartless NIMBY.

    I’d openly welcome a homeless shelter on my block just keep it to 4 stories.

  • Funny, last I checked, noise from builders working at night, asbestos in the air from their unchecked demoliton and streets made slippery by ice caused by their using city hydrants for their own construction needs are just as dangerous to renters as they are to homeowners.

    And all of that has happened in just the past month at the 340 Court site.

    Oh, and I forgot, when the builder starts slamming the site with a backhoe and cornices start coming loose, I’m sure that they will only hit rich people.

    We are out protesting by any means possible because overdevelopment in general and the Clarett Corp. in particular has left us no other choice.

    Oh, and the buildings planned for that seven story building at 340 Court consists of 16 single family townhouses (maisonettes was the name given that that should jack the price up even more) and 32 two-and-three bedroom units — because the builders themselves are on record as saying that will maximize their return in this market.

    Not leaving room for poor and mid-income folks? Maybe you should direct your ire at the builders themselves.

    Or would that entail a bit of self-criticism?

    Gian Trotta

  • snip:
    >Nimbys, when will you learn? You have taken a noble idea of preserving vanishing beautiful buildings and perverted the very core of the system so that nothing can grow in this city. Everything changes, it grows, falls apart, and gets built again to serve the community but trying to do what Paris did by making the city a museum is wrong and not the course this city should take.

    Sure, and Grand Central should have been knocked down and made into something like Penn Station — and Cobble Hill Park should have been made a supermarket, as was planned in the early 70s.

  • Trying to have a discussion with a nimby is like trying to have a discussion with a religious person. It’s wasted time that you will never get back.

    There are those that are “faith based” and there are those that are “fact based”. Nimbys are obviously faith based and the silent majority are obviously fact based. You can discourse with a nimby until the cows come home but they will not budge from their view, no matter what. Evidence be damned and fancy talk be damned! I have GOD on my side! A fact based person on the other hand will listen to all the points of the argument, consider the choices and go over the pros and cons for the greater good of the community. If their current opinion was based on false information they will change their view accordingly.

  • nice faith-based argument, 3:06.

  • 3:06
    Huh? You are saying that anyone wanting to preserve architectural design is NIMBY? I said I’m fine with lots of things in MBY. Fill the neighborhood with more 4 story buildings, up to the Gowanus, clean the Gowanus and tax me so that people enjoy being on a Venice-type inlet, put in rehab houses, just keep the flavor of the neighborhood I moved to 25 years ago and pay 1/3 of my salary to live in. I didn’t mind it when Smith street had social clubs dangerous to walk past with roommates and I don’t mind Starbucks–but 6 stories put me literally in the dark.

    If you have facts on why low income housing (which of course none of these 6 story building are) cannot be accomplished with more construction in keeping with the neighborhood, than state it. Don’t tell me I’m “faith-based” and won’t listen to facts. Those anti-religion have the ability to say show me God, and the religious to have to state their Faith. I have the ability to point to the architecture.

    Why is it so wrong to want not to have enormous ugly buildings in your neighborhood?