The Clarett Site at 340 Court Street
360 Smith Street Stein/Boom, LLC
333 Carroll Street
Toll Brothers' Bond Street Site
I received an email from a PMFA reader yesterday. I am posting it here as an op-ed piece, because I thought that it contained some very interesting and valid points that we, as a community need to address. Let's start the dialogue....
Seeing the Stein building today actually has me upset all over again. It is not what our neighborhood needs. And to think that a few blocks south and a few west, 12 story and 8 story buildings are planned at Public Place and Toll Brothers. A few blocks west and north is Clarett's 8 story building on Court St.
These developments alone could forever change the character of Carroll Gardens. In today’s N.Y. Times, there was an article about thriving local small business, most of which is right here. It said the character of our neighborhood (small/local) makes this type of business very successful and that local small business success is the best thing for our economy. Bigger development/ more density will lead to box stores and national chains, not a good thing.
We just had the election of, for all practical purposes, our new City Councilman, Brad Lander. Brad has made it no secret that he is in favor of buildings in these areas that are out-of-scale 12 or 14 stories, as long as they have an affordable housing component. Is it possible that he would be in favor of the Stein building and the Clarret buildings as well if they were given more height and density to accommodate affordable housing?
I think our whole neighborhood needs to re- enter this debate, about the use of Public Place and the current fashion for affordable housing via private luxury development. Is it really the only/best way, does it have a serious downside for Carroll Gardens? What is the need for affordable housing in Carroll Gardens? Will greater development just drive up housing cost more and force more people out vs. the affordable it will provide? There are several building owners I know who rent to people because of their character or relationship at less than market rates therefore providing affordable housing.
There is a big human side and quality of life side to this issue that needs more attention. More than anything, I am calling on all the Lander supporters to enter the debate on development their candidate embraces. Do you want to see these buildings rising in Carroll Gardens or are you safely in land-marked and zoned Park Slope? John Heyer supporters were clearly against cleaning the Gowanus via Superfund so as not to stop the big building down there. Other supporters of John think the Stein building is great for us, I know you have your heart in the right place about CG but how do you feel about these “outsider” cashing in and the buildings they will leave behind? Any concerns at all? It is becoming a fact these buildings are rising. Gary Reilly and Bob Zuckerman ran on righteous platforms. I hope their concerns have not faded. The race for City Council is over but there is a lot more to do and to understand about the election and the implications for development.
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