Thursday, November 20, 2008

Marty Markowitz Hears From Both Toll Brothers And From Residents


Borough President Marty Markowitz paid very close attention during the ULURP hearing on Toll Brothers' Gowanus development spot-rezoning last night. After Community Board 6 voted to approve the change in zoning ahead of a city-wide plan, it was now Mr. Markowitz's turn
to hear both from the developer and from the community.

There were two presentations of the project. First, Toll Brothers' Vice-President David Von Spreckelsen and his architect went through theirs, flashing the usual 'pretty' renderings of what their condo development will look like. Phrases like "the rythm of the streetscape" were used. Concerns about shadows cast by the two 12 story buildings countered by more charts and more drawings.

The second presentation was given by architects John Hatheway and Chris McVoy.

Both would like to see development along the shores of the Gowanus. Both would support the Toll Brothers' application provided it is dropped down to 8 stories instead of the proposed 12. In their drawings, the two architects showed the impact of the project on the neighborhood. One illustration was especially disturbing. When looking from Smith Street down Carroll Street towards Hoyt, the buildings will be clearly visible from this land-marked block.

Representatives from both the Gowanus Dredgers and from the Gowanus Conservancy spoke in support of the development. So did labor union members.

However, many residents stepping to the podium to give their testimony. They overwhelmingly urged Marty Markowitz to disapprove the spot-rezone. Kevin Duffy, Carroll Gardens resident, stated that he understood the need for jobs and affordable housing, but wants safety to be considered first. Building on brownfield, ' does not make sense.' He asked the borough president if he had ever read the Fema and D.E.P. reports. Both studies called the area along the canal 'uninhibitable' and situated in a 100 year flood zone. Duffy wondered who will take ownership of any problems that will arise from development on the Gowanus. He told Markowitz that he respected his judgment. " This vote weighs heavily on my family." he said.

More members voiced their grave concern about building ahead of a clean-up.
Citing from the same DEP and Army Corp of Engineers report, Ludger K. Balan of the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy told the audience that every thing from Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Creosote,lead, manganese, mercury and zinc was found to be present in the water. (There were lots more chemicals on that list.)

Towards the end of the meeting, FROGG member and architect Ben Ellis summed it up best. To him, putting people next to the canal as a way of getting it cleaned up "sounds like an evil experiment."

For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking


Lisanne said...

"an evil experiment" pretty much sums it up!

I am extremely concerned and don't see how these union laborers aren't, about what is going to be released into the air once the ground is broken and dug into.

I can also see this thing languishing half built in this economy,

Anonymous said...

I just can't see how people are going to want to buy into it, into Toll properties, when part of the package will be"and you will have to work to get the canal cleaned up. No one else has been successful - no city/state/federal agency. We told the community that the only way that the canal would be cleaned up is if people lived alongside it, and they would make the necessary pushes, and then efforts will be made. "

What a crapshoot - literally.

Oh, yeah, and the developers will be long gone.

And no matter what, the sewers would still be overflowing into the canal.

Who in their right mind would go for that?