While the pic here is not from this particular meeting,
|Mike Cetera, who looks a little like the guy in front, led the meeting||.|
Stan and Jackie Myers were there, they of the petition that on the Lefferts Listserv elicited some rather skeptical responses. Jackie and Stan are celebrating 49 years of marriage, and they're going for the Gold folks! It was clear that they've done their homework, as Jackie came prepared with a bevy of documents that helped elucidate the response that the committee eventually drafted. Given the tenacity evident in their expression of feeling on the issue, I don't doubt that they could in fact compile "hundreds" of signatures against the 626 Flatbush project, regardless of the utility of such an effort.
In a nutshell, it would appear that community opposition to the height of the planned building at 626 is quite significant. No one at the meeting seemed to be in favor of the project as is. Whether or not there's anything to be done about this particular building remains unclear. Certainly were enough of NYC's power brokers and neighborhood elected officials engaged (de Blasio as Public Advocate cum Mayor, Adams as State Senator cum Borough President, Tish James Council cum Public Advocate, Mathieu Eugene Council cum Council, Hakeem Jeffries (Assembly becummed Congress), Yvette Clarke (Council becummed Congress), Karim Camara (Clergy becummed Assembly) etc etc 626 could certainly be held up in bureaucratic limbo. It would seem that there is significant enough passion on the issue that such an effort could be mounted. However it's pretty late in the game, and it's probably a longshot at best. Still, given how many people I've spoken to who favor the project, had I been at this meeting only I'd judge near universal opposition to the currently planned development.
So the topic turned to current zoning in the neighborhood, and the question before the committee was how best to proceed to make changes. Some argued for an immediate request to rezone the Flatbush/Ocean corridor, while Cetera favored a District-wide effort. An intern with the CB has been asked to map the entire district, which is full of various zoning numbers and letters that could be jumbled a la alpha-numeric soup to create a vision of the neighborhood going forward. One thing is perfectly clear - the current appetite for Development in Brooklyn is reaching into the area quickly, with whole houses and buildings being razed for new projects. If the community wants to take action on how this will play out, now is clearly the time. It may be that some favor a laissez-faire approach. Their numbers were not represented last night.
Letters have been written to the NYC Planning Board requesting an immediate survey and reconsideration of zoning in the neighborhood generally. Some in attendance vowed to take their fight to elected officials.
Oh, and a dude from Planet Fitness was there saying they would be operational in the Phat Albert building by January or February. They'll have 3,000 sf on the ground floor (next to the Car Wash) and 16,000 sf on the second floor. The community seemed enthused about this development and the motion to grant permits for a "Physical Culture" facility passed unanimously. FWIW, the Physical Culture designation and needed permits grew out of concern for the rise in "massage parlors" etc in the '70s. The rep from P.F. assured us that there will be no offerings of a sensual nature permitted at their facility. P.F. is known as a no-frills center that is generally quite reasonable...from $10 a month he said! Wow. There goes that "it's too expensive" excuse.