|Way Out Atlantic Ave: The ENY of the future? A bit optimistic, perhaps?|
And while there wasn't a lot of NEW information discussed, much of it was new to the new Board members, many of whom, in a bit of a panic, helped to rescind last year's resolution to begin the process of studying our neighborhood and proposing changes consistent with the neighborhoods priorities. Turns out a formal "resolution" wasn't really needed, and we went quite a bit further in ours than had, say, CB8 in its initial approach to Planning. All they wrote was a letter, and it had nothing specific at all in it. But Winston et al at City Planning quite liked our resolution, and were quick to engage the CB to move forward. I've been over this 1,000 times, but it's worth repeating, particularly since some in the room on Tuesday didn't really know how far we'd gotten before things blew up in September.
The bottom line is this. City Planning is not about to pour enormous resources into a rezoning study, and engage in the lengthy process of dialogue and ULURP, if a) we don't invite them in formally and b) we won't entertain the possibility of finding places to build new housing, in particular affordable housing as laid out in the goals of the current Mayoral administration. Dig? So somehow, CB9 has to go back to the drawing "board" and restate its support for a study and its acknowledgment of the goals of the DPC. Barring that, we get stuck with the same lousy 50-year-old zoning that led to the creation of 626, an outdated map that actively encourages a totally random hodge-podge construction environment. With more than two dozen development plans already in the works for the area south of Eastern Parkway, west of Prospect Park, west of NY Ave, you can see why some of us are very nervous about what this means in practice. Actually, so much is already cooked into the pie that an 18-month zoning process will barely make a dent. We've already lost a year. Here's hoping the bleeding stops now.
You probably already know about the other unneighborly 23-story tower going up on Nostrand below Church. But did you know that inside sources tell the Q that the Associated on Nostrand above Empire, which lost its lease, is already likely to be a huge, and maybe tall, apartment building? (Sadly, neighbors spoke to the grocery store's owners asking that they stay, and were sold a bill of goods about how they would. Real money talks, and that's whose speaking now over there.) Did you know that a hotel firm is looking at Empire right now? Did you know how big the apartment building will be at the recently sold Sea Crest linen spot? Did you know that R6 zoning has no height limits, and that other than the absurd and "loose" R7-1 zoning that led to 626, our neighborhood is chock full of R6? Did you know that a simple change from R6 to R6A or R6B could include not only height limits but "quality housing" dictates that ensure the context of our blocks remains intact?
It really IS consequential. And Tuesday was a great start towards making the board understand those consequences. And yes, Empire Blvd, Flatbush to Rogers, will be on the table. But so will dozens of other blocks. Hopefully we'll move forward without any more shenanigans from the scaremongers at MTOPP, but who knows? One can only hope that their, um, enthusiasm can be contained long enough to discuss the issue soberly.