CB1 Public Hearing and Board Meeting Recap: Summer Programming, Waterfront Development and more

by Heather Van De Mark on

Last night’s Community Board 1 (CB1) Public Hearing and Board Meeting was pretty standard fair—liquor licenses new and renewals, several outdoor sidewalk applications (no surprise given the nicer weather), and requests for special permits. I’ll jump straight into the open space/parks/environmental news and then touch on other items of note from the meeting. You can view the official agenda for the meeting online [PDF].

The OSA (Open Space Alliance) Minute
Ed Janoff, OSA Director, offered updates on several park and open space related items:

  • New programming for 50 Kent (previously known as Williamsburg Park) will include 9 concerts (six paid, three free) throughout the summer; free outdoor movies in the summer; a flea market operated by BrooklynFlea on Sundays; a pop-up roller rink twice a month on Sundays, as well as programming by BikeNYC and Good Yoga (also on Sundays).
  • There is some Phase 2 construction happening at McCarren Park to work on the path and soccer field over by the track, a continuation of last year’s path work on the northeast corner of McCarren Park. Work should be complete by late June/early July. [Partial?] Funding for the work was provided by CM Levin’s office.
  • The McCarren Park Pool will open on Thursday, June 26th. There will be a strong security presence at the opening of the season to deter and oversee any potential issues.
  • The 4th of July Fireworks are returning to the East River for the first time since 2008!
  • The Greenpoint/McCarren Park Greenmarket is happening in McCarren Park on Union Ave. on Saturdays. And the Down to Earth Farmer’s Market took up its new residence–at the center of McGolrick Park–last Sunday, and will be there every Sunday through the summer and fall. Another Down to Earth Farmer’s Market will open on Sundays at Cooper Park starting on May 25.
  • Save the date: OSA’s Community Forum is tentatively scheduled for June 2nd. More details to come. Here’s a recap of last year’s meeting.
  • There was no news regarding the sludge tank demolition. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) maintains that it is still on schedule.

Councilman Steve Levin
CM Levin made an appearance and spoke about the happenings at City Council, including:

  • The Two Trees plan for development of the Domino Sugar Factory was set to be approved tomorrow [being today, Wednesday] and he was pleased with the progress that had been made in terms of affordable housing (AH) and open space. The AH changes included a greater number of 2 and 3 bedroom units, as well as the majority of the AH units being at 60% average mean income (AMI) (unfortunately with a small number still at 125% AMI). Regarding open space, the planned “Domino Square” will be a privately-owned, public space and programming will be determined by a board comprised of representatives from CB1, the 33rd district, Borough President’s Office, and developers. This board will oversee programming at the Square even during the interim years while the rest of the project is being constructed/developed.
  • He thanked the volunteers who came out to Saturday’s Riverkeeper Sweep.
  • He also mentioned that he’s been busy serving as the Chair of the Council’s General Welfare Committee that oversees Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services, Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Homeless Services, Office of Immigrant Affairs, and charitable institutions.

CB1 Elections
Community Board is holding elections and will vote at next month’s board meeting. Most of the nominees for the available positions are the incumbents running unopposed. However, for the position of CB1 Chairman–to replace Christopher Olechowski who is stepping down–has two nominees: Dealice Fuller and Rob Solano. Fuller is the current Financial Secretary on the board and a member of the Housing & Public Housing Committee. Solano is a member of the Public Safety; SLA (State Liquor Authority) Committee; and the Land Use, ULURP, & Landmarks Subcommittee. Best of luck to both nominees!

State Senator Daniel Squadron
Zeeshan Ott, Squadron’s Brooklyn Director, spoke about the new slow zone on McGuiness Boulevard as part of de Blasio’s Vision Zero. The speed limit has been reduced to 25 mph. A board member did bring up that there needs to be a plan to enforce the new slow zone, and Ott said he would speak to the 94th precinct. He also said that DOT has created/will create an on-going North Brooklyn community group to work on transportation issues.

Greenpoint Waterfront Development – #4 on the official agenda
A request for the first renewal of a special permit “to facilitate the development of a 39-story mix-use development at 145 and 155 West Street.” The special permit was originally approved by the City Planning Commission in 2009, you can view the original application online [PDF].

From what I understand, the special permit allows them to move around the bulk of the project–from the permitted R8-height of 300 ft to a single tower of 392 ft. To do this they’ll have to include affordable housing, which the representative said there will be 140 AH units, the majority of which the owner is committed to setting at between 55-60% AMI, and no higher. The breakdown of the units is roughly 0-3 bedroom units, 70 2-bedroom units, 50 1-bedroom units and 10 studios. Due to the design of the development (which is comprised of three buildings of varying heights), there was a lot of concern among the Board regarding a “poor door” entrance and the segregation of AH with market-rate apartments. [Full disclosure: Rich Mazur of North Brooklyn Development Corp. is handling the AH marketing for this development. Mazur was a previous GWAPP board member and is on the current Nominating Committee.]

The representative also mentioned that once built–in however long that takes–it would be the first affordable housing in Greenpoint. I don’t know how accurate that statement is, but the thought of it is certainly appalling considering we were promised AH as part of the 2005 Rezoning, but not surprising given The City’s Continued Failure.

The representative also mentioned that there will be 23,000 sq. ft of public open space including a playground. The playground however means less available green space. There will also be a private green space for the tenants.

I couldn’t find too much else online regarding the project, but here’s a PDF on 155 West St. from ABB Landscape Architects.

Other Items
For those still reading/interested, I’ll sum up some of the other major points brought up at the meeting (it was a long meeting):

  • The gym, Crunch, is looking to move in to the neighborhood at 825 Manhattan Ave (the current Rainbow Department store). They’re estimating 4,000 – 6,000 members, with an average of 500-700 patrons per day. Expected hours of operations are 5am – 11pm and 7am – 9pm on weekends. They don’t have an official local-hiring policy, but the attorney said it was common practice.
  • Apparently, the building at 120 Jackson Ave. is home to the “longest continually operated Settlement House in Brooklyn.” The School Settlement Association is proposing/planning to demolish the 105-year old building to rebuild a new facility that will better serve their programs and the local community schools. The new building will include a combined open-space gym-auditorium, fenced rooftop playground, an exhibit commemorating the history of the old building and the Settlement movement, and more. View additional project details on the Settlement website. Several neighbors were in attendance to voice their opposition to the project’s construction.
  • A new 2,000 capacity, sound-proof music venue will be developed on 319 Frost Street. Several board members expressed their opposition to the development because it borders a residential block. However, the development is as-of-right and they were only at the meeting to receive approval of their liquor license, which I believe the board did ultimately approve.
  • CM Reynoso’s representative presented on his recent work, including the introduction of Participatory Budgeting to the 34th District. Yay! They’ll be holding a general info meeting on PB on June 2nd.
  • There was also a lively debate regarding Budin’s application for a beer and wine license. A coalition of neighbors, the Milton Block Association, are not in favor of the application and are unhappy with Budin’s usage of the backyard open space stating that it was disruptive to their quality of life. Budin apparently is willing to meet CB1’s subcommittee stipulations but not the Block Association’s stipulations. I believe that ultimately the board voted to approve the liquor license with the agreed subcommittee stipulations.
  • There was an issue regarding bike corrals in Williamsburg, it was a follow-up from last month’s meeting, which I did not attend, so I couldn’t follow the conversation.
  • Lastly, there will be a Community Street Safety Workshop at the Greenpoint Library Branch as part of Vision Zero on May 22 at 6:30pm.

Upcoming CB1 Meetings: View CB1 Calendar
Transportation Committee, May 21
Land Use, ULURP & Landmarks Subcommittee, May 28
Public Hearing and Board Meeting, June 10

Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.
  • Darren commented:

    Nice job but please let us know about 145 west.


    • Heather Van De Mark

      Heather Van De Mark commented:

      lol i’m getting there! it was a long meeting. amazing people are reading this as I write!