Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Breaking News! On His Way Out, Councilman Bill De Blasio Sticks It To Carroll Gardens



PMFA has just learned that out-going Councilman Bill De Blasio will amend and erode the old law protecting Carroll Gardens' unique front yards on December 9th, requesting a change in front of the City Council to allow an exception for Hannah Senesh, the private school at the corner of Smith Street and First Place, to build on city owned property.
Just last year, the City Council passed the Wide Street Text Amendment, establishing once and for all that building and parking on the front gardens in this historical neighborhood is forbidden. Many local residents have given countless hours of their time and have fought so hard for this amendment.
Hannah Senesh Day School claims that two years after moving into its new facility at 342 Smith Street, it is already running out of space and wants to expand their building. They have asked to be allowed to build onto their (paved over) front garden along First Place.

Though I am sympathetic to the school's space issue, I believe that allowing an exception to the rule on that corner of Carroll Gardens will open the possibility to more. Imagine if more owners of corner properties should claim the right to build on their corner garden?

How typical of Bill deBlasio! Just as his term as city councilman is about to come to its end, he zings the neighborhood one last time. It wasn't bad enough that he was a mostly absent representative.

Below is a statement on this matter by members of the Carroll Gardens Coalition For Respectful Development (CORD)


A 150 year old plus law, protecting the "gardens" in Carroll Gardens, is about to be thrown away by Bill De Blasio. Bill DeBlasio

The man who was quoted on the Front Page of one of our local newspapers as recently as Nov 20 saying the character of CG was so "very important to him" appears to be back peddling in a major way.

"Today we are seeing the voice of the community in action. Stopping the 333 CArroll Street development from becoming another out-of-scale development is an important step in protecting the historical character of Carroll Gardens." (Front page words of Bill De Blasio in "Hell to Pay on Carroll Street/ CG Courier/ 11/20/2009)

Despite these seemingly hearfelt words, Bill De Blasio has an exit strategy on his way to the city wide Public Advocate's office, that STINGS Carroll Gardens badly, especially in the wake of the hard won zoning regulations approved by the City Council over the last year and a half.

Carroll Gardens is unique. We were blessed with beautiful deep front gardens.These "courtyards" are specifically protected under old Brooklyn Law from having any structures built upon them.

That law is about to be changed. It is being tampered with by our exiting Councilman, Bill
de Blasio.

We learned today that DeBlasio, who has publicly supported and taken credit for maintaining neighborhood character, (link to campaign platform below) will be introducing a bill to amend the old brooklyn law on December 9th. He will be requesting a change that will allow a two story structure to be built on a courtyard on a Place block.

Once this dangerous precedent is set, there is no way of knowing what else could follow.

This is unacceptable and completely bewildering to the many many people who have worked so diligently over the years to insure that Carroll
Gardens did not lose its identity in the face of overwhelming overdevelopment.
"Fighting Overdevelopment: Bill fought to close a longstanding loop hole in the zoning text that left many streets in Carroll Gardens vulnerable to overdevelopment. The narrow residential streets were labeled “wide street” in the Zoning Resolution allowing for developers to build larger buildings. The change, advanced by Bill, appropriately characterized the narrow streets helping to preserve Carroll Gardens' character by disallowing out-of-context structures to rise on several residential blocks."
A page full of irony from Bill De Blasio's Public Advocate Website entitled: Neighborhood Preservation

How do you feel about this imminent change?

Should one Council member have the power to overturn something that affects so many?
We would like to know. Please email us at

For Home Page, click Pardon Me For Asking


Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but the school was used to justify a larger FAR for 360 Smith. The buyers new that when they signed the deal; they new that it would be a problem for them to expand. The reality seems to be that at that time they passed a deal with the city to get the possibility to use the courtyard for further extension. DeBlasio is just confirming the agreement.

Anonymous said...

The City needs to rent First Place to Hannah Senesh Day School as a means to finance the EPA's Superfund lawsuit. We can expect more of our streets to be rented in the future.

Without this, the City will need to layoff more teachers and firemen to pay for Superfund!

Anonymous said...

Nothing Bill does is a surprise. Has committment to Carroll Gardens has always been on the negitive side of the scale. My concern is where our nes councilman stands, he is after the man Bill wanted as his replacement. Will he follow his leader's foot steps or will his actions show that he care about Carroll Gardens. The only good thing in this is that, hopefully this is the last time Bill and his lacky Tom Gray will be able to screw Carroll Gardens

Anonymous said...

Good job New Yorkers for electing not only one of the least qualified candidates but a Developers Advocate for Public Advocate. We tried to warn you.
This is quite a FU to Carroll Gardens. This law sets a dangerous precedent for the neighborhood and opens the door for future changes in the law. I am surprised that there is no opportunity for public comment. 360 Smith and Hannah Senesh School should go through the BSA. I knew Bill's support of the downzoning was political pandering.
Now I hear that Tom Gray will be Bill's land use "expert". Does Betsy Gotbaum have a land use expert? Tom Gray is still young and should save his soul and go back to Ohio.
I feel for my neighbors who supported Bill's campaign. They must be kicking themselves.

Anonymous said...

Brad Lander should seize this opportunity to demonstrate that he is not a DeBlasio clone.
Let's see if Brad steps up or if he will just be more the same.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment above.
What is Brad Landers position ion the issue?

Batman said...

I doubt anyone will successful oppose this, as the groups in the school are extremely well connected politically. Having said that, the school is ugly, out of context and one of the uglier eyesores in the neighborhood.

I think allowing higher buildings would be much less of an evil than allowing buildings such as this, ESPECIALLY if the alternative is encroachment into the front yards...

Anonymous said...

Brad starts in January - long after the law is amended by our Councilman.

Height limits stink - they force expansion into front and rear yards instead of adding a floor.

Anonymous said...

No matter who wants to use a courtyard like this in CG, a school or anyone else in Carroll Gardens, this is just plain wrong, wrong wrong.

No else is allowed to do this and Hannah Senesh should admit their admit their idea is a terrible one for Carroll Gardens.

The Courtyards are PUBLIC property and the City saying they will give away one of them for one dollar should put that courtyard on the auction block becuase I want it for 2 dollars!

As for Mr. DeBlasio he has just given the "bird" to an entire community od devoted and tireless citizens he supposedly "worked" with for years.

This more than anything that comes out of his mouth or is printed on his hypocritical webpage should tell the rest of New Yorkers to hang on to their public propeties because unforuntaley here comes a thief and a liar if there ever was one.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am proud that I did NOT vote for Bill DeBlasio.

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of how deBlasio doesn't work for the citizens of our community!

When the community was outraged about the development on 333 Carroll St, deBlasio promised the citizens--during a very public meeting--that he would handle the problem. He clearly bailed and left it up to the local citizens to demonstrate to the local authorities who issues a stop-work-order when it was shown that the project was in violation of the local law. DeBlasio was nowhere to be found in helping the community insure that local laws were being properly followed.

For deBlasio now to step forward and overturn a law that the community clearly wants in place shows a complete disregard for the community. He is doing this on behalf of an elite few, not the people of the community.

NYC will soon have a Public Advocate who primary focus has been and will continue to be advocacy for the elite development sector of our community. DeBlasio has never delivered on his promises to the local community! And his claim for being pro-development in order to provide more affordable housing has not produced one unit of affordable housing in his district.

Everyone is wondering if our replacement councilman will be more of the same or will he have the decency to work towards strong communities?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Lander will never fall out of step with DeBlasio. He's always been in DeBlasio's pocket. I'm not surprised by the underhanded behavior of either man. I am a little surprised that Senesh is not more considerate of the neighborhood's welfare.