Thursday, November 13, 2008
Though it was the last thing I wanted to be doing, I did feel as though I needed to attend Community Board 6's general meeting last night. The reason? The full board voted on the Toll Brothers' spot rezoning along the Gowanus Canal as part of the project's U.L.U.R.P. process. I know, I know. I could have stayed home. Of course the outcome of the vote was a foregone conclusion after the board's Landmark/Land Use Committee voted to approve it two weeks ago.
The meeting was held at the Old First Reformed Church in Park Slope. Robert Levine, chairman of the Land Use committee, presented the project.
From some of the comments and questions from board members, it was clear that quite a few had misgivings about voting on the spot rezoning before the city presents a comprehensive plan for the Gowanus area. Board Member Devin Cohen seemed concerned about the shadows cast onto the Gowanus Canal by twelve story buildings. Raymond Lohier mentioned the city's severe budget shortcomings for 2009 and suggested that the city may push back the start of the long awaited clean-up of the waters of the Gowanus. There were more questions and comments about the toxic nature of the land on which the Tolls want to build and mention of the sewer overflow problems.
What was astounding to me was that all these concerns were raised by community board members who are not residents of Carroll Gardens and not by those who live right here and should be representing the interests of the citizens of this neighborhood. Debbie Scotto and her followers have formed a little clique that seem to vote as a block. Not one voted against the Toll spot rezoning last night, easily explaining away health and environmental concerns.
So there you have it, folks. The next step in the U.L.U.R.P. process is a hearing in front of Borough President Marty Markowitz on November 19th.
Oh and just one last thing. I find it inconsiderate when board members play around with their I Phones and blackberries during these meetings. I know that the unpaid position is purely voluntary, but the least these board members can do is to put their phones away and concentrate on the issues at hand until the meeting is over.
Pardon Me For Asking