Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Night At The 'Gowanus Green' Public Scoping Meeting

The last place I wanted to be last night at 5 PM was at the Public Place Scoping meeting held by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. However, I knew that the meeting would be sparsely attended, so I walked down to Brooklyn Borough Hall to represent the community.
I am glad I did. Most certainly due to the fact that the meeting was scheduled so close to the holidays and the fact that it had only really been publicized late last week, hardly any members of the public showed up to comment on the Scoping Document for the Public Place Environmental Impact Statement.
There were however those Carroll Gardeners who did take time from their busy schedules at this time of year to speak last night.
Amongst the points raised by members of the community as well as by representatives of our elected officials were:
- the need to take the entire rezoning of the Gowanus Canal area into consideration
-to study the effect on the community of the various developments that have a similar timeline as 'Gowanus Green' so that all the projected figures can be considered in their entirety.
- To put in place an ongoing health study to ensure the safety of the area and procedures for the perpetual monitoring of the remediated area for any latent surfacing of pollution.
- the need to consider the context of the neighborhood
-the impact on our schools and subways.

Marlene Donnelly, a member of F.R.O.G.G., reminded everyone present that in 1974, the New York City Planning Commission designated Public Place site as exactly that: public open space.
From the April 3, 1974 documents that Marlene handed in as part of her statement:
"City Councilman Thomas J. Guite and representatives of State Senator Carol Bellamy and Assemblyman Michael Perce recommended that Public Place designation be adopted in view of the overwhelming demand throughout the community for available open space which should be set aside for public use. Also stressed was the necessity for such space in order to preserve the vitality and stability of the residential neighborhood."
The need for open space in this community has increased rather than decreased since 1974, especially with all of the other developments going on. But instead of finally getting the use of this open land at Public Place, Carroll Gardeners will have to absorb an additional 774 units.
Given the promises made, couldn't we have a bit more open space and a little less density? Everyone understands the need for senior and affordable housing, but is this truly the best we can do?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being there and reporting to all of us. I know you were there as a blogger but also as a good neighbor to Public Place and Carroll Gardens.

I appreciate that the old commitment was brought up. It will be argued that all the density is needed for the affordable housing, but can there not be a compremise on this most public of projects that will benifit everyone including the residents of Public Place for safy, better sevices and more desirable living with less density? Won't all parties win. Because of the cost of the cheap land can't the developers and consultants make a little less to start with? Won't contractors be dying for work and take less now too? Won't there be less demand for the housing as well? We only have one chance to make this right and then will live with the result for years.

Unknown said...

I live around the corner from Public Place. If New York needs to replace industrial zones with residences so badly then the residential zones will have to be as dense as possible especially with the access to mass transit so limited. Industrial retention is very important to New York's future. Open space is great but as badly as we need open space we need industry just as badly.