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 21, 2015

First ULURP Committee Meeting of the Year - This Monday Evening

Yep. And given that last email from MTOPP, it's gonna be fun with a capital Ferocious. It's the Q's hope that the good folks at the 71st will be on hand to gently escort away anyone making trouble or preventing respectful dialogue. There's business to attend to, and while the Community Board is required to hold an open meeting, it is not obliged to facilitate people who have vowed "to shut it down."

The agenda, the one that the Q has been begging the chair to discuss for 7 months now, is printed below. If like me you are drawn to conflict like a moth to flame, you will undoubtedly be there. If on the other hand your mind is made up about whether to engage City Planning in a Zoning Study of our outdated zoning, and where the study should focus, then you may be excused with good reason. Still, it would be nice to see some numbers in favor of joining the City's efforts to build affordable housing IN context with the prevailing architecture. And yeah, we'll probably see some residential on Empire to take the place of the current landmark-able fast food and storage places. Not tall - everyone involved has agreed there must be strict limits on height to avoid becoming another NYC canyon. In exchange we can expect to downzone and contextualize the zoning through huge chunks of the neighborhood. That's all speculation by yours truly at this point, but informed speculation.

In short, there is nothing to fear about engaging City Planning in a dialogue. Otherwise, we get what we get. Oh, and it won't take 3-5 years as some knuckleheads say to get a resolution through the Council. Probably closer to 2 years (check out the CB8 timetable).  Why the rush? Let me just remind you that in 2008 we first asked for rezoning. It's 2015. Do the math. If you don't take advantage of the City's resources when they're offered, it could be years before we have the chance again. The City, and the economy, they giveth and they taketh.

Do the right thing CB9. Ask for a gentle and thoughtful rezoning. And remember, the fight for the soul and diversity of the neighborhood is not rezoning. It's predatory landlords. And loopholes in rent regulation. And THAT should be the very next order of business, if this CB9 is to have any relevance at all. Oh, and that nonsense about how the Jewish Community is "protected" from rezoning? Let me remind everyone that the Jewish Community asked to be part of this study to accommodate growing families in overly low zoned areas, and generously stepped aside, recognizing that the western part of the district needed more immediate attention. If anything, we should be thanking Eli Cohen and the JCC for being gracious.

Lastly, there is nothing funny about race-baiting. Not in Crown Heights. Not anywhere. Not now. Not ever.


Alex said...

Wait, vow to shut it down? That's idiocy.

Alex said...

I do not understand. This is the opportunity for input that MTOPP has been asking for.

So... WTF do they want, really? Can anyone answer that question at this point? I know that MTOPP can't - I specifically asked and got, "We don't know," as a response in writing if anyone wants to see it.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Alex: The argument has morphed because MTOPP's questions and concerns change to match their ultimate goal - no new residential on Empire. They don't want more people moving in. And certainly not more people of the wrong, um, persuasion. That Alicia welcomes those types to her house to make money on her AirBnB only underscores the hypocrisy and absurdity of her frothy polemics.

They've cloaked everything in various arguments - first that there would be highrises on Empire. When the BP and Planning assured us there's no backdoor plan for that, they switched to the gentrification tact. When it became clear that this could actually alleviate upward rent pressure and add affordable units, they attacked the system of creating affordable housing. Now they're saying tall towers aren't possible with current zoning, so why change? They are extreme NIMBYists who want to shut down the process in order to achieve their goals. And, as we joked, Keep Empire Shitty.

There are a lot of us who look at the zoning map and rules and see all kinds of holes that could lead to unwanted development. We also see that there are no requirements for 80/20 or 50/30/20 setasides. We see that you can build totally out of character skinny buildings or FEDDERS buildings that destroy the street character (we've seen that all over the nabe.) And in contradiction of their statements, there is no reason you can't buy up buildings and build towers. Their assurances should not be believed. None of that affects the black/white/Jewish/Martian diversity of the neighborhood.

That fight is in Albany and against crooked landlords. We are losing affordable units every day. That's a different fight, and one that IS racial and racist.

Hope that clarifies things. It's taken awhile for me to figure it out to, but I now I believe it's plain as day.

Add to that AB's deep-seated anger over things we can't understand because we're not her therapist, and you've got a mighty cocktail. Molotov.

cheryl on parkside ave said...

I cannot speak for Eli Cohen of the Jewish Community Council or any of the other groups, but I can speak as one of the representatives for PPEN and PLGNA at the last City Planning meeting,16 Court Street. I am certain that Eli agreed with all the other neighborhood representatives that the western side of the CB9 should be studied first, because it is more at risk for irresponsible, out of scale development. All three PLG groups, ie; PPEN, PLGNA and MTOPP were in attendance.

Of course the parameters chosen were mere proposals to be submitted to CB9 and the community for discussion. Maybe DCP should begin with the eastern side of the district, so that no one will be accuse of racism, but last I observed, Crown Heights South is still a predominantly black community (please correct me if I'm wrong). Like I've said before, the western side of the district is the target area for developers.

Because the land are all privately owned and we can't dictate to the owners, I would hope any developer, CB9 and City Planning, would adhere to the concerns of the PLG community and community groups, including PPEN (please see PPEN's Statement of Principles on its website) and PLGNA, that height, density, affordable housing and increase community services be at the top of their agenda, when designing any new development in our community.

As we wait for the zoning process to spin its wheels, let us work with any one of the neighborhood groups of your choosing or individually, to protect displacement of any existing resident and the protection of our current affordable housing stock, under Rent Stabilization. We have to also continue to advocate for our senior and disabled residents, by helping and encouraging them to apply for the SCRIE/DRIE programs.

***PPEN HAVE SENT OUT ITS STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES TO: Borough Pres. Adams; CB9; Department off City Planning; Council Members: Eugene, Mealy, Cumbo; Assembly Member Camara and State Senator Hamilton. We have also met and continue to dialogue with BP Eric Adams, Council member Eugene, CB9 Executive Leadership, regarding support of the rezoning process in the community.

MikeF said...

I don't think you need to spend additional effort trying to make PPEN distinct from MTOPP.

No one confuses Alicia with anyone else.

Kimplicated said...

People who are reasonably supportive of reasonable measures are the ones who sit reasonably and listen reasonably and wait their turn to speak in reasonable tones. So we get drowned out.

Is there a way to make the silent majority more visible? Can we all wear, I dunno, blue shirts to make a reasonable statement?

See y'all there.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cheryl for your comments. As PPEN founding members we are saddened that disruption has become a weapon to derail reasonable planning for our community. We are outraged that race is being used to divide our neighborhood and to subvert our efforts to obtain affordable housing, contextual zoning and to protect the corridor on our side of the park. Using "Uncle Tom" as a weapon against those who disagree with MTOPP is shameful and disrespectful to those people of color who have worked so hard to improve and to protect the neighborhood we love. By doing nothing we are playing into the hands of the developers.

J & S