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.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Let's Push Forward

The Q just wrote a letter to CB9 and I'm sharing it with you all because I'm sick and tired of sending private requests and tactical suggestions to the leadership and getting no response or action. For some reason, we've completely stopped discussing the issue of rezoning at the committee level. The ULURP comittee, supposedly led by the newly appointed Ben Edwards of the Lefferts Manor Association, would be the most relevant committee. For the life of me, I can't understand the lack of movement on the single most pressing issue before the Board. 

I'm hoping that with as much pressure from Board members and the community as possible, something will finally emerge to vote on - either a reaffirmation of the Zoning Study request that was passed and sent in March or slight revisions to better articulate the Board's position. Without it, there's no reason for City Planning to proceed. All they see is the great big mess and loud and angry voices. We need to show that we are prepared as a community to go into the next stage of community input from a place of semi-consensus about the need for the study at this time. I repeat as I have many times before: the resolution needn't be perfect or final, but if we need to take some specific language out so be it. The most good we can probably hope for is more below-market housing components and height restrictions anyway. But at the very least, we'll get a decent assessment of what our current infrastructure can handle, and some smart choices about where the new building should happen, rather than the haphazard and out of context crap we're getting right now.

To the Board Leadership:

I notice that once again there is no scheduled committee meeting this month to take up the issue which has dominated much of our mental energy of late - namely the resolution passed last March and nearly rescinded in September. To all the new members of the Board, I feel you are due a full appraisal and accounting of what led up to the resolution and why it's imperative that we move forward now. I also believe that we need an opportunity, as many as possible, to hear all the facts, presented without hysteria, and to make up our own minds whether we want to go to City Planning with a final statement of support authorizing them to move forward.

We are currently at a stalemate. Even though some of us had begun meeting over the spring and summer with Planning to discuss aspects of the rezoning Planning Study, such as where the boundaries should be, all of this ground to a halt when Alicia Boyd and her group started a campaign to rescind the motion in late August and September. Their efforts, aide by activists who live OUTSIDE the district, succeeded in shutting down the September CB9 meeting. Had that not happened, it's safe to assume that we would be now entering the public comment phase of the study, while city resources would be retained to begin the study in earnest. We are losing ground to neighborhood developers with each passing day. By not working on a reasonable response to the outrageous surge of new buildings and breakneck displacement, we're satisfying no one. And I believe, we're being weak and ineffectual.

It is unfathomable to me that once again another month is to go by without a relevant committee meeting, since it's really only from committee that we should really be discussing and voting these things on the floor of the full Board meeting. It was a terrible tactical error to set aside the entire September meeting to public comment - that should've happened in committee - but since what's done is done can we please use the proper committee to reexamine our resolution, make whatever necessary changes, and send to the Board for a vote THIS MONTH? Please?

Bed Edwards is chair of ULURP, and I implore him to call a meeting immediately. At the very least, a vote needs to be rescheduled to reaffirm our desire to move ahead - but to do that properly we're to meet in committee, not vote on a motion from the floor. Planning is waiting for such an action, and I call on the leadership to please make that happen.

I've been told by the Chair that there are "a lot of things happening" that the Board knows nothing about. That's unacceptable. If there's a plan, or action is taking place, we need to know it. I'm asked all the time what the Board is doing and I have had no answer. At this very moment, I do have an answer for what the Board is doing. Nothing. Nothing at all.


no_slappz said...

Hard to believe just two years ago you couldn't get a decent cup of coffee, glass of wine or bistro burger around here. Now, you can spend ALL of your discretionary bourgie dollars right here in Lefferts!

Expressions of happiness over the arrival of new restaurants, etc, made possible because people are willing risk a lot in a developing neighborhood face the counterpoint presented in a long letter to CB9 that boils down to this:

We are losing ground to neighborhood developers with each passing day. By not working on a reasonable response to the outrageous surge of new buildings and breakneck displacement, we're satisfying no one.

Someone seems to be of two minds.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Wow Slappz! I swear you spend more time reading my posts than I do writing them!

I thought by now you'd have picked up on my love of irony, sarcasm etc.

"Reasonable Response." That's all I can hope for.

As for outrageous surge, I'm all for building new apartments. What's happening now has taken on the air of frenzy, and I smell a house of cards. Don't breathe too heavily!