GWAPP & NAG: GPL and 77 Commercial ULURP Testimony at BBP Meeting

by GWAPP on

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In case you were unable to attend the Brooklyn Borough President’s (BBP) ULURP meeting re: Greenpoint Landing (GPL) and 77 Commercial Street, we’re publishing our official testimony/statement here on the website for you to read. You can also download it (DOCX).
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Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning (GWAPP) Testimony and Recommendations re: Proposed ULURP Actions on 77 Commercial Street Development and Greenpoint Landing With additional response to the CB1 Resolution

Brooklyn Borough President’s Hearing: September 17, 2013

Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning (GWAPP) have conducted a lengthy review of the proposed ULURP actions requested by the developers of 77 Commercial Street and Greenpoint Landing. What follows are our comments on the applications based on our experience working in North Brooklyn and feedback from our neighbors.

Any discussion of development related to the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning agreement must begin with an acknowledgment of the City’s broken promises and the unfulfilled potential of the 2005 WRA. What is the City’s plan for delivering the parks and affordable housing this community was promised in exchange for the wall of luxury towers being built along our low slung, low-density and historic waterfront? The people of Greenpoint and Williamsburg have been waiting 8 years and all we are getting is developers and the City asking for even more from the community without any guarantee – or even a plan – to deliver these basic quality of life elements for residents.

Recommendations: 77 Commercial Street
What the community demands in this ULURP action is that the City deliver all the promised elements of the 2005 WRA and, in addition, make the following modifications to the building plan and design:

  • The removal of the MTA and the ERB from 65 Commercial Street (Currently, the City says they have a commitment to move the MTA but no timetable for moving the ERB. After 8 years, that is not acceptable.)
  • Restore the $14.5 million (in 2005 dollars) in funding that was promised in the 2005 WRA and build the park at 65 Commercial Street
  • Explain how the air rights for 65 Commercial, which were appraised at $12m 8 years ago have now been sold for 25% less in the midst of one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.
  • Use the funds ($8m) from the sale of the 65 Commercial Street air rights that, according to the 2005 WRA, were to be earmarked for something called the Greenpoint Williamsburg Affordable Housing and Infrastructure Fund and, instead, invest $4m in a comprehensive study and action plan for infrastructure, including transportation, and $4m in a Tenant Displacement Fund to provide legal assistance and other resources to displaced families in Greenpoint.

Recommendations re: Greenpoint Landing
Modifications: 

The City must guarantee and create a timetable (with penalties) for delivery of ALL community amenities promised in the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning Agreement, including affordable housing and park space at Bushwick Inlet, Newtown Barge Park and 65 Commercial Street.

  • City must reveal the price that the developer is paying for Lot 32 and not toss it in the City’s General Fund but earmark that revenue exclusively for the development of park space in Greenpoint.
  • City must restore the 7.5m promised (in the 2005 WRA) for the expansion and re-building of Newtown Creek Barge Park.
  • Developer must contribute 10m (not the 2.5 proposed by City) to the build-out of the Newtown Creek Barge Park.
  • The major impact from this site will be the addition of 4K units/10K residents (25% of current Greenpoint population) to the dry weather sanitary flow at the NC WPCP. We ask that the site design go beyond stormwater management and offset this new combined flow via additional stormwater management, cutting-edge water conservation within the buildings, and on-site treatment. 
  • Development must be Platinum LEED-Certified
  • Development must demonstrate how proposed design will not increase impact from floodwaters on neighboring properties and infrastructure.

Response to CB1 Resolution:
GWAPP and NAG strongly object to some of the modifications recommended in the resolution passed by Community Board 1 regarding ULURP actions on the proposed developments at Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street. (View the CB1 Modifications from the Land Use/ULURP Subcommittee Report (PDF).)

Our issues with the resolution are as follows:

     

  • No mention of impact on neighborhood infrastructure.  We must demand that any land-use approvals be contingent on a fully-funded transportation and water-use study of waterfront area.
  • 77 Commercial Street
    • Point #2. In the 2005 WRA, the City promised a total of $24 million for parks, infrastructure and tenant services. Over the past eight years of non-delivery on those promises, $14m has evaporated, leaving us with $10m.
    • The recommendation that the City re-allocate the $8m (not $7m as the resolution inexplicably refers to it) that the developer is paying for the 65 Commercial air rights to affordable housing is completely mystifying. That money is the only funding available to build the park that the community has been waiting 8 years for and, moreover, why take money from the community – why not demand that the City and/or Developer enhance the affordable housing mix? If there needs to be additional funding for affordable housing (on which we defer to CB1’s analysis), it should be in addition to, and not subtracted from the funding already promised for parks and infrastructure.
    • #7. The funds are not “donated” by the developer and are already earmarked for the construction of the park at 65 Commercial. Also, this point contradicts the demand in #2.

     

  • Greenpoint Landing
    • #7. Funds from the transfer of rights on Lot 32 should be earmarked for the construction of Newtown Barge Park Extension and/or Box Street Park (65 Commercial Street).
    • #8. The budgets for park construction at Newtown Barge Park are unrealistic.  Developer should contribute more money up front. We think the City should require a $10 million dollar contribution to the park’s development, build-out and, importantly, maintenance.

 
We urge City Councilperson Steve Levin and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz to disregard these elements of the CB1 resolution and demand real benefits for the community.

Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) is a community-based organization that has been advocating for waterfront access, reduction of environmental hazards, and policy that promotes a healthy, mixed-use community in North Brooklyn since 1994. The Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) is a community activist organization dedicated to education and outreach on issues affecting the environment, waterfront and neighborhoods of North Brooklyn. Together, we have been working to educate the community about this development and solicit comments from local residents.

GWAPP

GWAPP

The Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning, Inc. ("GWAPP") is a not-for-profit group, 501(c)(3), comprised of individuals, community organizations, religious institutions, and concerned citizens from the Greenpoint-Williamsburg communities dedicated to the development of parks and public access on the Greenpoint waterfront.

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