Newly appointed Chairman of the City Council’s Land Use Committee, Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield, who represents Bensonhurst, Borough Park, and Midwood, came out against landmarking Thursday, saying it reduces affordable housing, Crain’s reported.
“None of us exists in a vacuum,” he said to Robert Tierney, chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, at a hearing. “In the grand scheme of the city we are very focused on affordable housing … those are two competing interests.”
As of March 2013, 2 percent of the city is protected by landmarking, according to the story, which cited a Wall Street Journal report.
At the same event, Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams also called for a slow down in landmarking, saying the lack of affordable housing in historic districts is “appalling.”
We respectfully disagree: Continuing to protect the city’s architectural heritage is not at odds with the Mayor’s laudable effort to increase affordable housing. Merely limiting landmarking will do nothing to increase affordable housing, as development in non-landmarked areas of Brooklyn such as Williamsburg and 4th Avenue has shown. We call on Mayor de Blasio and the City Council to step up the pace of landmarking in Brooklyn, particularly in Bedford Stuyvesant, an architecturally remarkable but largely unprotected area where developers have become very active lately.
If the proposed areas up before Landmarks were to be landmarked today there would still be huge sections of these neighborhoods where new affordable housing can be built, as well as many other means of increasing affordable housing in Brooklyn. It’s not a zero-sum game. Great architecture should be preserved for all to enjoy.
The Brooklyn Recovery Fund has issued an impressive report on the state of Brooklyn more than a year after Hurricane Sandy. The report, issued a little over a month ago, found:
“While systems are back online and homes are mucked out, coastal communities continue to struggle. Home and business owners have spent down their life savings and built up debt. Many are barely making mortgage payments, and live in fear of foreclosure. Tenants face new and increasing landlord issues, including ongoing repair needs and rent hikes, and many have been forced to start over in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Storm drains remain clogged, temporary boilers create the random loss of heat, and mold persists in homes — threatening the health of our families. These needs require the utmost attention and commitment from local and city-wide decision-makers and government agencies, and beg the cooperation of all those involved to ensure that our communities recover to be better and stronger than ever before.”
The report has specific recommendations for each neighborhood in the five areas of housing, health, business and jobs, immigrant and undocumented communities and infrastructure. All the recommendations are backed up with studies and data. Some of the findings: (more…)