The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We're Certainly Not The First Neighborhood To Confront This Stuff

The other day I heard someone remark "only in PLG would people actively oppose progress" in regards to the planned 23-story 626 Flatbush. I've tried to remind folks that unwanted development is happening all over the City and that frequently the issue is outdated zoning. There was a time when the City begged for new buildings and cared not for aesthetics. While Patio Gardens is home-sweet-home to many, few would argue that it's design deserved any awards, or was even appropriately sized given its closeness to the park.

For an illustration of how other neighborhoods have argued for self-determination, take the successful effort by those in Carroll Gardens back in 2007. It was signed by more than 1,100 folks. I have to say I find their use of language particularly invigorating. Power to the people, indeed. And while I doubt the value of homes in C.G. was ever in question (skyrockets in flight!) I certainly can identify with the desire to decide one's own destiny.

The text from that petition:

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes.

We understand that the current laws and the R-6 zoning which we fall under allows this at present---but the letter of this law does not reflect the spirit of the law, nor the wishes of the very people who have made this community so desirable. We feel that the "as of right" clause recognized by the city, planning/zoning and building departments should not strip us of
our rights to have a say in the height, bulk and density of the structures placed in our community.

We are presently not permitted any type of control in this regard, but we understand that there are different rezoning and/or landmarking measures which would help remedy this situation. We have been informed that it is typical for the process to take several years. Clearly, the very character of our neighborhood cannot afford to wait that long.
Therefore, we DEMAND an immediate moratorium on all buildings and alterations in our neighborhood, where the ultimate height of any structure to be built will exceed a height of fifty feet, while we await a decision on rezoning and or landmarking in our beloved Carroll Gardens.

We, the undersigned, vow to support ONLY those public officials who will act upon our demands and achieve our goals NOW.

And that last line, ladies and germs, is what the Q calls an attention grabber.


Anonymous said...

Carrol Gardens is about to see the closure of Long Island College Hospital, a bankrupt business that may well become a medical mall and residential site.

The final plan might include a tall building with great views that would erase any memory of why people in the area said they disliked such structures.

People and their opinions about local real estate are transient. They come and they go, but the buildings are usually around for a long time, and you can be sure no one ever refused to live in a neighborhood because one building was a lot taller than all the others. Of course, as new buildings are put up, the height difference shrinks. The newer ones catch up with the early high-riser.

Scott said...

If you care about maintaining affordable housing (broadly defined; as in affordable for a wide range of income bands) and if you think mixing incomes in neighborhoods is a good things (rather than concentrating & sequestering poverty & wealth), then the fact that high-density construction is happening all over the city is a good thing. Large buildings are not a problem if you care about those things; large buildings help mitigate the problem.

You can make arguments that infrastructure can't support new construction, or that developer tax breaks are too generous, etc but those are all problems that can be solved by welcoming more denser construction, up-zoning more of the city and restructuring the property tax system to support increased investments in infrastructure.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Good points. So, Scott, were there to be an actual conversation about this, I suspect you would show up and offer your assessment?

Good. Then we should set up a meeting regarding the usefulness, timeliness and appropriateness of this building immediately to discuss the pros and cons.

What's that you say? No such meeting was required by law?

That, Scott, is why this lawsuit must happen in the first place. A blog is not the place to decide major aspects of City and more specifically neighborhood planning.

The City and State ignored us for years. Then a major development gets dropped on us, and not a single chance to weigh in? Disgraceful.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

The first anon here likens the poor management of a vital institution - a hospital - as if it's just one more piece of a necessary march forward. If you know anything at all about the case, you'll see that mismanagement, bad faith, and contempt for the people of the neighborhoods the hospital served are what's really at play.

I know two people closely involved in this battle, and your assessment is woefully newspaper-blurby.

Of course buildings last longer than many people's memories. And by your reasoning, we might as well get rid of all that is good and livable about our City in the march towards taller progress. It's a view, and I can see that. But I certainly don't endorse it.