Three community boards are fighting over jurisdiction of the 22 acres that make up the Atlantic Yards development. Most of the complex, which runs along Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue, is technically in Prospect Heights, with a small section in Park Slope. But the community boards don’t exactly follow neighborhood lines, so bits of it belong to CB 2, 6, and 8.
Why it matters is not really clarified by a story examining the matter in detail in The New York Times. The CBs are responsible for things like trash pickup, liquor license reviews and noise complaints. Developer Forest City Ratner says “all the districts would share local hiring and affordable housing opportunities regardless of what happens.” A few observers say it would be easier to oppose the development if responsibility for it were concentrated in one community board.
Click through to the story for a helpful map showing exactly where Atlantic Yards is going to go. Above, the rail line portion that runs along Atlantic Avenue from Barclays Center to Vanderbilt Avenue in the snow in February. It’s eventually supposed to be covered by a platform and six towers.
Community Board Six’s land use committee voted yes on a variance for Methodist in exchange for the Park Slope hospital altering its expansion plans yet again. The subcommittee requested more scaling down of the eight story structure as well as fewer parking spaces, less signage and the appointment of a construction task force, the New York Daily News reported. The full community board will vote on the proposal tonight. The vote is non binding.
At a Community Board Eight meeting Thursday, CWB Architects presented a modern-style townhouse to go into an empty lot in a landmarked area of Prospect Heights. The board wasn’t quite sure what to make of the proposal for 576 Carlton Avenue, according to Curbed.
The new build would be four stories and for a single family. “It’s a beautiful design, but it doesn’t seem to be in context with everything else on the block,” said board member Curtis Harris. As Curbed notes, CWB has lots of experience building in landmarked areas.
Click through to the Curbed story to see more. What do you think of the proposed design?
Last night, Community Board Six held a public hearing on the Department of Transportation’s 4th Avenue streetscape proposal, and Streetsblog reports that the full board voted to approve a modified version of the plan. If you recall, the CB6 Transportation Committee approved the initial proposal, but the full board voted it down. DOT’s tweaks, according to Streetsblog, were modest, and included retaining three lanes of traffic northbound on Fourth Avenue starting at Carroll Street, rather than Union Street, reducing the left turn bans from eight to six, and adding a painted curb extension to the southeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Fifth Street. The DOT also stressed the benefits of the plan for drivers, not just pedestrians. The resolution ultimately passed with Community Board Six asking the DOT to add greenery to the medians. Get the full rundown of the meeting over at Streetsblog.
The developers Read Property Group LLC are applying to rezone a large swath of Bushwick land to build a development with 10 eight-story buildings, 977 apartments, two extra streets, open space, and retail. Both DNAinfo and the Daily News attended the Community Board Four meeting where the developers presented their plans. (The developer already applied for a rezoning with the City, and now must go through a lengthy land-use review process, as we reported in August.) The proposal, slated for the old Rheingold Brewery site near Woodhull Hospital and the Flushing Avenue J train station, includes 54,000 square feet of retail space, 17,000 square feet of public open space, and 242 units of affordable housing. The developers plan to rebuild two streets that were in the area when it was home to several breweries — Stanwick Street between Montieth and Forest streets and Noll Street between Stanwick Street and Evergreen Avenue. Not surprisingly, these plans were met with many concerns by the community board, which is actually working to downzone areas of Bushwick. CB4 delayed its decision until the developers can provide more information on affordable housing, how much parking will be included, and the impact on local schools. Many residents asked that more affordable housing be included. Once the developer makes it through the community board, they need to take the plans to the borough president and city council for the zoning change. If all goes according to plan, they hope to complete the development in 2016. Developer Read Property Has Vision for Old Rheingold Brewery Site [NY Daily News] Controversial Bushwick Rezoning to Add High Rises, Streets and Retail [DNAinfo] Developer Moves on Plans for Big Bushwick Complex [Brownstoner] Rendering via DNAinfo
Community Board One’s land-use committee will hear a very interesting proposal from the Open Space Alliance at its meeting on Wednesday night. The OSA and the Parks Department want to close off streets around McCarren Park, in Williamsburg, to expand the park and to connect sections of the park currently separated by a road. The proposal asks for “the discontinuance and closing of Union Avenue from North 12th Street to Driggs Avenue,” “the discontinuance and closing of a portion of Driggs Avenue at its former intersection at North 13th Street,” “the establishment of an addition to McCarren Park,” and “the adjustment of grades necessitated thereof.” As the Brooklyn Paper reported, by “demapping” one block between Driggs Avenue and North 12th Street, the park would gain 33,8000 square feet. The plan would also connect the triangular section of the park, home to the dog run and farmers market, with the park’s southern end. The roadway would be replaced with planting beds, shrubs, loading zones and catch basins. But because the plan takes away 34 parking spaces, it is facing some resistance from neighborhood drivers. Should make for an interesting meeting! If you’re interested in attending, the land-use committee is meeting Wednesday at 6:30 pm at 435 Graham Avenue. Jed Walentas is also on the schedule to present some information about the Domino Sugar conversion. Plan to Expand McCarren Isn’t Getting a Greenlight from Drivers [BK Paper] Union Avenue and North 12th Street, via Gmap
Tonight the Community Board Two land-use committee will hear an interesting proposal to redevelop seven lots along Fulton Street between Grand Avenue and Downing Street. Above, five privately owned lots are marked in pink. The applicant also wants to develop two adjacent city-owned properties, lots two and three. Presumably a very large development will go in on the seven lots, which are currently empty. According to a Community Board Two bulletin, “The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is willing to consider transferring the property in what is known as a negotiated sale. However, before the agency will prepare a ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application for the disposition of the two lots, it requests a preliminary opinion from CB2.” A negotiated sale means the City would work out a deal with the applicant but not sell the lots on the open market. The identity of the would-be developer was not disclosed; architectural firm Aufgang and Subotovsky and legal firm Akerman Senterfitt LLP, which specializes in zoning, land use and development, will present. GMAP
Last night, the public review process for the Two Trees development located in the BAM Cultural District kicked off at the Community Board Two meeting. Two Trees Director of Special Projects Dave Lombino presented the project. It will include a 30-story rental building with 20 percent affordable units, 225 on-site parking spaces, a 10,000-square-foot public plaza, a library, cinema, rehearsal space, a restaurant and cafe, and 15,500 square feet of retail space. The Brooklyn Public Library currently on Pacific Street will close and move into this new development, and the branch will work with BAM to provide cultural initiatives. BAM will run the cinema, which will include three mid-size theaters. And the nonprofit 651 Arts will run the rehearsal spaces, where a preference will be given to Downtown Brooklyn arts groups. Architect Enrique Norten spoke about the design (the renderings presented last night are those already circling the media), and said it is still a work in progress. He spoke on the challenges of designing for the triangular site, as well as building something right in the heart of the BAM Cultural District. Ultimately, Two Trees was seeking Community Board Two’s blessing for a zoning change, so they can increase the height of the development by about 10 stories and add more residential and community facility space. Some residents of One Hanson showed up and stated that the design for South Site, as it is now known, will block the view of the historic clock tower at One Hanson. They suggested a more dramatic cut-back of the building to reveal more of the clock tower in the skyline view. Residents and community board members also expressed concern about the sign illumination (the application for public review also asked for extra illuminated signage), possible congestion caused by the building’s parking entrance on Ashland Place, and the terraces on the building, which were said to be “uncharacteristic of the neighborhood.” The land-use committee approved the design with conditions on the abatement of noise, the removal of terraces, a traffic plan, and an unobtrusive illumination plan. Review Process Starts for BAM Cultural Build [Brownstoner] Major Developments Planned for BAM Cultural District [Brownstoner]
If you can make it out to the Community Board One meeting tonight, there are quite a few agenda items of note up for discussion. The first is for the creation of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway on West Street (photo, above) from Eagle Street to Quay Street in Greenpoint. The Department of Transporation and the Department of Design and Construction will present a schematic for a two-way separated bike bath; a planted buffer, speed tables and improved pavement markings at intersections; and the relocation of existing above ground utilities to underground. That’s a full twelve blocks of bike lanes along the waterfront! Next up: the proposal for an “urban farm site” at 104 Moore Street, a vacant lot between Graham Avenue and Humboldt Street in Bushwick. It will be used as an enhancement to the nearby Moore Street Market. Finally, the Williamsburg nonprofit St. Nicks Alliance will present a proposal to develop affordable housing with commercial space at 695 Grand Street, between Graham and Manhattan avenues. The meeting is tonight at 6:30 pm at 211 Ainslie Street in Williamsburg. Photo by Google Maps
Despite Community Board Six’s land use committee recommending a new environmental impact study be performed before evaluating a new development planned for the Gowanus Canal, not to mention lots of community opposition to the development, the full board voted to approve Lightstone’s plans last night. Pardon Me For Asking reports: “Last night’s monthly meeting of Community Board Six was a bizarre, badly organized affair that left many Gowanus and Carroll Gardens residents scratching their heads and wondering about the board’s integrity.” The full board voted against the motion by the land use committee, which asked that development be put on hold until a new impact study was conducted, that 30 percent of the units be affordable, that the building height be reduced to eight stories from 12, and that Community Board Responsible Contractor Conditions be followed. A second motion, to neither approve nor disapprove, but require the impact study, also did not pass. According to PMFA, this is the motion that finally passed: “The Community Board conditionally approves the minor modifications provided that the developer follows CB6′s Responsible Contractor policy and that city planning starts a full scale study involving the rezoning of the Gowanus Corridor.” PMFA states, “It was less than a stellar moment for CB6.” Less Than a Stellar Moment for Community Board Six… [PMFA] Rendering via Gowanus Your Face Off
Work to unclog traffic and improve safety on the long stretch of 4th Ave. that runs through Sunset Park will start Aug. 13 and go for about two months, said Department of Transportation Project Manager Jesse Mintz-Roth at a meeting of Community Board 7′s 4th Ave Working Group last night. Plans include moving school drop-off locations off the avenue, adding or enlarging 15 loading zones for trucks to reduce double parking, and widening the meridien to create a plaza with planters and benches — most likely near 59th St. More Meetings for 4th Avenue [Brownstoner] Safety Improvements Approved for 4th Avenue [Brownstoner] Photo by Department of Transportation