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.