Thursday, October 17, 2013

'We Are Gowanus' Updates The Community On 280 Bond Street In Gowanus

280 Bond Street
280 Bond Street, between Sackett and Degraw Street
Main building of 280 Bond Street
View of open garage space, which will be used as outdoor space by venue.
View of residential homes abutting the open garage on Degraw Street       

You may remember the controversy over the proposed Rock Roll Playhouse (RRPH) in Gowanus.
Back in April 2013, home owners on Sackett and Degraw Street, whose properties abut 280 Bond Street, an 5,650 SF industrial warehouse, received a certified letter informing them of upcoming construction to the building. The work would involve alterations to the existing warehouse into The Rock &Roll Playhouse (RRPH), a family-oriented and kid-friendly music venue.

The letter noted that the Playhouse would include a restaurant and "daily programming and classes for children 10 and younger."

The residents became alarmed after finding out that the Playhouse’s owner was none other than Peter Shapiro, who is known for several large clubs, including the Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling and live music performance space in Williamsburg.

After pressing for more details, the homeowners were told that besides the kids classes and family-friendly programming, Shapiro intended to operate an over-21 jazz club after 8 PM that would offer live music seven days a week, feature a full bar with a last call at 1:30 AM, 2 AM on week-ends, and would include a large 3686 SF outdoor space.

For that purpose, he would be applying for a full liquor license as well as a Place Of Assembly Certificate.

Concerned that such a large music venue right in their backyard would impact their quality of life, the homeowners organized and formed "We Are Gowanus (WAG)."

Members of WAG spent months getting petitions signed, meeting with elected officials, and appearing in front of Community Board 6.

They also reached out to the Brooklyn Building's Department to point out that the development should not be allowed under the existing R6B (residential) zoning.
WAG ultimately sued the Buildings Department.

Below is an update from WAG, which they released two days ago.

Greetings WAG, Friends and Neighbors,
Since our last big email blast much has happened, none of which was a surprise.

On Oct. 2, DOB issued its final determination which was in opposition to WAG on all of our positions: discontinued use, use of outdoor space, presence of lot line windows, construction of expanded mezzanine space and prior un-permitted construction.

It is important to note that the DOB’s ruling is NOT a situation wherein a judge weighed the issues and made a decision one way or the other; instead, we sued only to force DOB to issue its decision and the basis for it.

This was expected, as a ruling in our favor would have shined a bright light on the DOB’s massive failure to conduct due diligence prior to issuing permits.

We are appealing this decision to the Board of Standards and Appeals. Our many legal advisors believe we have a strong, appealable case. DOB elided over the issue of non-conforming use and the evidence it cites are by any legal standard totally insufficient.

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to reach out as well. And if you have skills to organize and execute a fundraiser, etc, please feel free to join in.

Thank you.

We Are Gowanus needs the support of the neighborhood. I hope that you will consider a contribution to the group's "Defend The 'Hood" fund by clicking here.

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