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
The Brooklyn Paper reports that the once-illegal Gowanus dance parties at The Brooklyn Yard now have the blessing of Community Board Six. CB6 recommended a liquor licence for the outdoor parties, now called the Gowanus Grove, held every Sunday with local food vendors and music. Last year the parties stayed open until 8pm and beer was served, but the owners never went before the Community Board. The year before that, the dance parties were operating without liquor or sound licences and were shut down by the landlord. This year, the Gowanus Grove has new promoters, will hold dance parties until 9pm on Sundays, and serve food and beer. No word yet on the website when Sunday parties pick back up.
Gowanus-Side Dance Parties will Return this Summer [Brooklyn Paper]
Kemistry Lounge, the business applying for a liquor license at 260 Flatbush Avenue against the wishes of nearby neighbors, is back on Community Board Six’s Liquor License agenda tonight. The Prospect Place Neighbors Group is urging CB6 to reject the liquor license, you can see the letter addressing concerns here. A big concern, as iterated at last month’s meeting, is the building’s exit onto Prospect Place. Community residents already met with Kemistry and the Flatbush Avenue BID and reached an agreement on 11 stipulations, including monitoring of the premises, deliveries and trash pickup on Flatbush Avenue, soundproofing, and meeting with the community if any problems arise. Residents are still concerned about the possibility that the exit on Prospect will not be “bricked up,” as previously promised, that bottle service will be used, and that the business has not agreed to closing at 2am on weekends. While it was unclear at the last meeting how the plans for seven extra stories on the building would fit into the business plan, it looks like Kemistry will occupy two floors and have a capacity of 225 people. Prospect Park Neighbors say they’re coming to the meeting with a petition signed by 100 people against the business, so it should be an interesting night, to say the least. If you’re interested, it’s at 6:30pm at Prospect Park YMCA, 357 9th Street, 7th floor.
Slope Residents Worry About Another Arena-Area Club [Brownstoner]
Seven More Stories for 260 Flatbush Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark DOB
Two public plazas will open this summer in Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, one at Fowler Square and the other at Fox Square, off of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street. Fowler Square, a DOT project proposal rendered above that met with some resistance from nearby residents, got full support from Community Board 2′s public transportation committee last night. That plaza will be temporary and expand across South Elliott Place. Some vocal opponents opposed street closure but DOT found that the short block only sees 95 cars at peak hour times (a very low number, compared to many other blocks nearby) and is host to much more foot traffic. DOT vetted the street closure with FDNY and the Sanitation Department, and across the board DOT found closing South Elliott would have very little impact on quality of life. So, in early-to-mid May, DOT will close off the block and install moveable tables and chairs, granite blocks, epoxy gravel, and 18 new planters. The Belgian blocks and sidewalk will be repaired and more plantings will go in around General Fowler. After this temporary plaza goes in, DOT will conduct additional traffic and pedestrian studies and ask for more community feedback, presenting their findings to the board next winter. If the temporary plaza works out, it will stay in place.
Click through for updates on Fox Square, at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street…. (more…)
Rachel Nash, the daughter of the owner of the notoriously rundown Park Slope building at 187 7th Avenue, made an appearance at the open forum portion of this week’s Community Board 6 meeting. She initially asked the community for ideas in financing the art gallery being run on the ground floor of the building and talked about how she plans to renovate the upper floors of the townhouse into housing for artists. But the conversation quickly turned to the building’s upkeep. Members from CB6 asked about the building being under foreclosure pressure. According to Nash, the family is trying to appeal the foreclosure actions that have been taken. Nash also described an ongoing battle to remove the sidewalk shed around the building. She claimed the old contractor who originally erected it is unavailable to take it down, and other contractors have refused to do it. The building recently received attention from politicians who said they wanted to work with the owner to make the building safer. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Paper has more details about Nash’s plans for the ground floor—assuming the family retains control of the building—which includes renovating the former Landmark Pub in the space “into a cafe with ‘poetry nights.’”
Hope for Notorious Slope Building? [Brownstoner]
Will Infamous Slope Ruin be Reborn? [Brownstoner]
Doings at the Dilapidated 7th Ave & 2nd St Building? [Brownstoner] GMAP
At last night’s CB2 meeting, the board’s parks committee presented their recommendations for the hotel and residential development planned at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1. There were comments addressing each of the seven proposals. In general, the committee members suggested that the developments should be built with as little bulk and height as possible; that the majority of parking should go underground; and that there be an ease of movement between buildings and to the park. There were calls for well-placed public restrooms, inviting commercial space and welcoming lobbies, and no ground-floor residential units. One board member commented that the “park is not the residents’ front yard.” The committee members stressed the importance of the “5th facade,” the roof, which will be highly visible, and said it should be pleasant and non-obstructive. They also wanted widened sidewalks on Furman and vehicular drop-off that causes no backup onto Furman. Click through for CB2′s specific comments on each of the proposals, which included opinions on why you wouldn’t want to swim naked in one of the proposed hotels.
Possible Pier 1 Plans Not Without Controversy [Brownstoner]
Possible Plans for Bridge Park Development Site Released [Brownstoner]
Design by WASA/StudioA (more…)
At last night’s Community Board 8 meeting there was a discussion about rising commercial rents in Prospect and Crown Heights, with many attendees saying the communities are seeing more and more boozy businesses as a result. “We need to start thinking about what other businesses this community needs that aren’t asking for liquor licenses,” said Atim Oton, chair of the board’s economic development committee and a local businesswoman. She quoted figures on local rents, which have risen thousands of dollars over the past few years: It’s $3,000-$4,500/month to rent on Washington Avenue, $4,000-$7,000/month on Vanderbilt and $6,000-10,000/month on Flatbush. “With rents that high,” she said, “it’s hard to stay in business without serving liquor.” Her opinion was met with some push back from a meeting attendee, who said that “progress is being made and you can’t stop the direction which business is going.” He added that “if the places serving liquor weren’t there, what would be?” Board members had quite a few suggestions, including a flower shop, butcher and bookstore. Oton said: “We’re not Williamsburg, and I’m glad we’re not Williamsburg.” Members seemed to agree. One member of the community board, Robert Witherwax, said the following: “If a landlord can get top dollar for his property and a business owner can make money opening a bar near the arena, it works for them, but we all lose out.” The economic development committee will be discussing the matter at its next meeting, next Tuesday, 6:30pm at the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
School closings and parking rules were among the topics of conversation at last night’s Community Board 2 meeting. CB2 District Manager Rob Perris talked about the DOE’s plan to close the Concord Village and Satellite Three schools, and mentioned that a new charter might move into District 15. In other school news, there was talk of how the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School needed to renew its building permits for its expansion on Dean Street because the build out isn’t compliant with the recent Boerum Hill rezoning. The school’s renovation of the former firehouse is 80 percent complete, and it should be done by next September. As Patch noted, Assemblywoman Joan Millman said residential parking permitting might not happen anytime soon, and that there’s a possibility it won’t be in effect by the time Barclays Center opens next year. There was also discussion of a push to lift the 4-7 p.m. parking restrictions on Atlantic Avenue, a proposal that Councilmember Steve Levin said the DOT has squashed. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Heights Association proposed improvements to the Atlantic Avenue entrance ramp to the eastbound BQE. At present there’s a free right turn from the right lane of westbound Atlantic onto the entrance ramp. The BHA wants a “pedestrian-only phase” to cross the ramp, where no cars are allowed. The group also wants an enlarged sidewalk for direct access into Palmetto Park. CB2 supported the request. And, finally, the full board approved a public art installation proposed for Cadman Plaza called The Well.
A few days ago Community Board 3 member L. Joy Williams posted a picture on Twitter outlining a list of funding requests from the board, which covers Bed Stuy, to the city. The list is still a work in progress, but here are a few points of interest so far: among the already-funded requests, reconstruction of Nostrand Avenue from Flushing to Atlantic; rehab of Charlie’s Place Playground and Pulaski Park; refurbishing the Franklin Avenue Shuttle Station; and additional staff and hours for the Macon Library. The longer, unfunded list of requests includes the construction of a sanitation garage; affordable housing and retail developments on Atlantic Ave. and Fulton Street; a rehab of the Sumner Avenue Armory; funding for a dedicated Skywatch for the neighborhood; and more sanitation manpower. A more detailed report on the 2011 Budget Requests can be found here.
Notrand Avenue by fešák
In response to numerous complaints over the Open Space Alliance’s Summer Concert Series at the East River State Park, OSA rep Stephanie Thayer (pictured) announced to Community Board 1 last night that the concerts would be moved to 50 Kent Avenue at North 10th Street, part of the Bushwick Inlet Park. The new spot, which is currently an asphalt-covered parking lot, will be the third location for the concert series. Thayer said all site preparation should be done by next summer. “We’re here to engage the community,” she told residents, some of whom were still hostile because of the series’ problems this summer. There will be a public hearing on the move to 50 Kent on October 20th, 6:30 p.m., at 211 Ainslie Street.
After the jump, CB1 recaps its summer meetings with OSA, which included death threats….
Last night was the first Community Board 2 meeting of the fall season, and while there wasn’t anything particularly exciting gracing the agenda, there were still a few items of note. The first: There was a presentation of plans for the bollards that will surround Barclays Center, on the blocks bounded by Flatbush, Atlantic, and Sixth avenues. The plans had previously come under some fire for their lack of community input. Forest City Ratner reps (pictured) discussed the plan with the board and explained the bollards will be “round cylinders” that rise 36 inches off the ground. They are placing the bollards inside the property line, where residential buildings are planned. CB2 approved the plans, which the DOT will hold a hearing on early next month.
After the jump, information about arts venue Roulette’s liquor license; a hearing is set for the Boerum Hill rezoning; and word on the Red Apple supermarket that’s opening on Myrtle…
Transportation Alternatives reports that last night Community Board 6′s full board voted unanimously “to continue the process of improvements that began with the installation of a bike lane on Prospect Park West.” What this means is that CB6 is OK’ing a plan “to build out the pedestrian refuge islands along Prospect Park West,” according to Transportation Alternatives. Streetsblog has more on the vote, which also involves “adding bike ‘rumble strips’ at crosswalks, and narrowing the buffer between the bike lane and parked cars at the northernmost end of the street. The resolution includes several other requests, asking DOT to search for ways to add on-street parking spots on PPW and side streets, and to monitor safety stats on the redesigned street for the next three years.” Meanwhile, the latest screed from the bike-lane foes was published on Park Slope Patch yesterday, and it included this line: “At some later point, CB6′s actions, and inaction, will be judged against a broader context, including the evident problems with DOT’s data.”
CB6 Drafts Bike Lane PPW Resolution [Brownstoner]
The Brooklyn Paper reports the latest in neighborhood uneasiness over club/restaurant Prime 6, which is opening in the old Royal Video spot on 6th Avenue and Flatbush: Last night a Community Board 6 committee said that it would like the business’s 46-seat outdoor patio to close at midnight on weekends. Owner Akiva Ofshtein, who plans to open the spot in May, according to the article, isn’t keen on closing the outdoor section earlier than 1 a.m., he says, since that’s when other nearby spots call it a quits. The story also says that last night Ofshtein described Prime 6 as a restaurant that will have “a free kids brunch on weekends,” in contrast to earlier descriptions of the place as more of a straight-up sports bar.
CB6 Tells Controversial Bar to Close Early on Weekends [BK Paper]