Surprise visit by the Toll Brothers at Gowanus Community Meeting.

The neighborhood meeting hosted by Friends of Bond regarding the SCOPING hearing for the Toll Brothers project along the Gowanus Canal between Carroll and 2nd Streets drew quite a large and concerned crowd from the immediate area around Bond Street. The whole premise of the meeting was to discuss how to strategize for the upcoming Scoping Hearing on March 13th with City Planning. Why does the neighborhood need to strategize you may ask?

Well, mostly because the neighborhood currently lacks the infrastructure for an influx of about 1,000 new residents, especially with potentially more coming in with all the other development projects that will descend once the zoning is changed. Why are the current residents justifiably concerned? Schools, traffic, FIRE HOUSES (response time?! C.G. lost their fire house) shopping and at the top of the list seemed to be the uh…..sewage problem.

A big unexpected surprise was that at about 15 minutes into the meeting, we learned that the Toll Brothers themselves or at least some representatives of the Toll Brothers were in attendance. I give them credit for putting themselves out there. What did they have to say? Well, they still haven’t closed on the property where the condo development is slated to be built. The sale is contingent on the rezoning. Rezoning? Well, right now the land between the Gowanus Canal and Bond Street is not zoned for residential, the zoning is for light industry and manufacturing. This upcoming Scoping meeting will have a lot to do with whether that zoning change goes through or not.

Special guest speakers Craig Hammerman (District Manager Community Board 6), Queens Councilman Tony Avella and Williamsburg community organizer Phil DePaolo of the NY Community Council spoke plainly about what the community needs to do in order to fight this thing. It is VERY IMPORTANT that people from the community SHOW UP at this scoping meeting on March 13th. It is everybody’s chance to speak his or her mind. Mind you, make sure when you speak you can back up everything you say with statistics, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SPECIFIC, which was a very important pearl of wisdom. Tony Avella is actually ON the NYC zoning committee and painted a very depressing picture about how money talks, that’s why big projects like these get pushed ahead of things like the brownstone area of Carroll Garden wanting rezoning as their streets are too narrow for big condo projects. It’s all about the moola. And Toll Brothers has PLENTY of that! BUT he did say that we shouldn’t just give up and go along with the process.

I urge anyone who lives around this area and is concerned to PLEASE come up with a statement to read at the Scoping meeting on March 13th. Relate your personal experiences and be VERY specific.

The Scoping Hearing will be on Thursday, March 13, 2008 from 2:00 to 5:45 PM and from 6:00 to 8:45 PM at the City of New York Department of City Planning, Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street, New York, New York 10007

Craig Hammerman can be reached here if you need get help in framing your objections.

If you have any questions or need any other help email here at lisannemct at yahoo dot com. and I can direct you to the right people.

Get the whole Public Scoping Document here.

If you want to read about some of the Toll Brothers more unsuccessfull projects click here

Neighborhood blog, Pardon Me for Asking and Brownstoner also attended the meeting, check their synopsises.


Anonymous said...


for some interesting info about Toll Bros.
They do not have a great track record.

Excellent recap of the mtg. Thank you. I loved the part where someone asked the Toll Bros reps point blank if they would abandon the project of they knew the community did not want them. "Yes," BUT they added that they had met with members of the community who DID want them - namely the Gowanus Community Development Corp. (synonymous with Gowanus Conservancy). Mr. Buddy Scotto, who founded that group, stood up and told the group that it was because of his efforts that the canal was cleaner, that the pumping station was working, and he went on to say that the only people against development are renters in the area who do not want to see their rents go up.."which they will" Well the people I know who are not for the Toll Bros project are home owners -so Mr. Scotto is wrong here. Hmm...last time I heard Mr. Scotto say that the only people against development are unions because they do not want to see jobs go away (because of rezoning from commercial to residential)-

This is going to be some interesting battle...and with the energy in that room, I am putting my money on the community!

Lisanne McT said...

Yes there was a lot of good energy in the room. Nice to go to meeting where people were actually allowed to speak and not be subjected to a slide show by a develperor a community board commentary rules.

Anonymous said...

The CG community has advocated for redevelopment and cleanup for five decades so Toll is correct - there is a strong community desire for affordable housing on the Gowanus Canal. Now that it may actually happen, people are scared.

Anonymous said...

I OWN and am opposed to this. Do we all really need to hear over and over again about how Buddy fought to get the canal cleaner forty years ago? It is still a cess pool.
Honestly, Toll, CPC, and even the GCDC need to start talking to the people who live east of Hoyt and not running to Buddy for a sound bite on everything canal.

Lenny of Bond St said...

Buddy Scotto is a horse's ass and his drum beating for this gave him something very valuable he'd otherwise lack: A LIFE, or should I say a celebrity life, which even in this small world is worth more to him than the earthen riches that drive other people.

re: Toll Brothers, unless you work for them, there's not enough BAD that can be said. My mind was elsewhere tonight, my apologies, but PLEASE realize they will buy anyone and anything they can, from the politicians to the locals the press (usually the cheapest of all). DO NOT BE FOOLED for even a moment.

Lastly, Found In Brooklyn is the great-- and dare I say it, SEXY-- exception but isn't it "interesting" how the various local industries who were displaced or still extant are hardly ever mentioned? In other words, by portraying the area as near empty, abandoned, etc. it only fuels the bullshit ambitions of Toll, of Scotto, of the canoe dipshits who think they'll get a new dock or whatever.

Anyone who doubts the Bloomberg Admin and their idiot pimps on the internet only concern is for short term growth, or "advertising" revenue is a fool. I will talk to Buddy about just what the words "estuary" and "flood plain" mean later, since the bright lights flashing seem to have scrambled his memory.

La vecchiaia e carogna,


Anonymous said...

Interesting. A lot of posters here against the development but very few actually commenting as to why.

Good heavens, a well-scaled mixed-use development that creates new public space, new affordable housing, and cleans up a brownfield. How could anyone ever be for that?

Anonymous said...

yes, and no one seems to mention what happens if they DON'T re-zone...are you ready for "light industry" picking up the area? You all sound hysterical...let's hear some real facts please...

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see so we should just let a company with a history of ignoring enviromental issues build on a sewage filled flood plain with no infrastructure to support it?

Traffic, transportation, schools, police, fire (where is the closest firehouse now that the main one was closed in the neighborhood?)

Toll Bros. are building up on a grade to avoid flooding, but where will their runoff and sewage go? Back into the canal or onto Bond Street which will be then be more of a valley than it already is.

Global warming is a reality and the result of it is more rain, more rain, more flooding, more flooding, more sewage.

Anonymous said...

1:49pm ...

Welcome to Gowanus! Stop by our firehouse and introduce yourself! The closed firehouse is miles away but the new, EMS station is at Carroll / Bond. Scrape off some of the lead paint on the building exterior for a souvenir to take home!

The fact is - new housing pays 10x the amount of RE tax than the current properties ... for the same struggling schools and overcrowded subways. These new Liberals are financially supporting the rest of Carroll Gardens and keeping our City running.

Anonymous said...

A new building in Brooklyn will not impact "global warming" or the precipitation cycle one iota.

That's the dumbest comment I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I think that person was talking about the fact that when it rains more as it will in the future because of global warming, more flooding and more sewage run off will occur in and around the canal.

Anonymous said...

Global warming will increase from the residents who reluctantly move to Maplewoood NJ in their search for affordable housing. Development in Brooklyn is better for the environment than additional suburban sprawl.