CRASH LANDING: Greenpoint Landing Project Presented at CB1 Joint Committee Meetingby on
Developers and their attorneys, architects and landscape designers presented plans for “Greenpoint Landing” and the adjacent 77 Commercial Street development at a combined meeting of Community Board One’s Executive Committee, Parks and Waterfront Committee and Land Use/ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) Committee Monday night in an overcrowded McCarren Pool Play Center room.
Park Tower is proposing 4.2 million square feet of mixed-use development on a 22 acre waterfront site at the mouth of the Newtown Creek. The City has been working with the developer on the plan, which includes the disposition of city-owned property.
Clipper Equities is proposing a residential project on the 77 Commercial Street site and will be seeking a special permit to accommodate the additional square footage it is purchasing from the 65 Commercial Street site.
About 70 residents crammed the space while, apparently, several dozen were turned away when the room reached capacity. The meeting was run by Chris Olechowski, CB1 Chair, Phil Capanegro, Parks & Waterfront Chair and Heather Roslund, ULURP Committee Chair. The crowd was attentive and respectfully quiet during the presentations by the developers and their representatives but, after a statement by Olechowski in which he said that the development, including its clusters of massive towers, was being built “as-of-right” within the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning Agreement, an agreement that CB1 had voted against but was implemented anyway by the City with the approval of the City Council, questions were taken from the floor and the community’s unhappiness boiled over.
Here’s a quick outline of some of the objections:
- Building separate facilities for market rate and affordable housing residents amounts to “socioeconomic and possibly racial segregation.”
- Within the affordable housing units, the proposed ratio of high AMI (Area Median Income) units versus low doesn’t reflect the need (for far more low AMI units) in the community.
- The open space proposed in the plans is paltry and unimaginative.
- The proposed elevation of the buildings above the 100 year flood level will simply push that water elsewhere in the community.
- The 77 Commercial Street development uses air rights from 65 Commercial Street (the MTA lot) which was promised to the community as a park 8 years ago and there is still no plan for its development as a park space.
- There is no plan to handle the impact of 10-12,000 new residents on the community’s infrastructure, especially the already overcrowded transportation options.
- The plan includes illustrations of both a footbridge over the mouth of the Newtown Creek and a large marina without any explanation of how those would co-exist with one of the busiest commercial shipping channels in the city.
- The towers would cast long shadows over the inland community.
- Request that any buildings allowing dogs be required to provide adequate dog run space on private property, rather than pushing the burden to care for dogs on the already overtaxed public parks in Greenpoint.
- Concern that construction plans will result in 8 to 10 years of constant truck traffic in the neighborhood.
- Unclear what variances, if any, are being requested by the developers.
CB1 Chair, Chris Olechowski, in a discussion of the projects’ timeline said that he would recommend that the ULURP process (and its public hearing) not take place until September. The developers initial plans are to proceed with ULURP in June/July 2013.
In response to the tone of the meeting and a particular question about what residents can do with their displeasure about the proposed development, City Councilperson Steve Levin rose and discussed the background of the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning and the fact that it stands as the law by which developers are enabled to build projects of this scale without very much further community input. He urged the community, regardless of the apparent policy hurdles, to organize and rally for what it wants.