GWAPP Newsletter: 2004, volume 2

Dear GWAPP Members, friends and neighbors,

As our activities grow each day, we wanted you to know what we have been doing to help promote the positive transformation of our waterfront and to assist our community in general. Therefore, we have decided to start a monthly eNewsletter to keep you up-to-date on all our latest activities. We hope that you will find the information useful to track what is happening on matters important to our community. Feel free to send us any comments or questions

GENERAL NEWS:

REZONING CONTINUES:
The process for rezoning much of our community continues. A final 7 month review process began 10/6/04 and ends 5/6/05. The process includes final review and votes by Community Board 1, the Brooklyn Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. On 12/6/04 Community Board 1 voted “No with modifications” to all of the proposed rezoning except the new park between North 9th Street and the Bushwick Creek Inlet, which was voted “Yes with modifications”.

While the city has recently revised their proposal to encourage “voluntary” affordable housing, the community continues to oppose the rezoning in it’s current form. The current rezoning would allow 22 towers up to 40 stories tall on our waterfront, would not guarantee affordable housing, would leave us with less than 1/4th the amount of park space than their own planning standards recommend, would not guarantee a continuous waterfront shorewalk, and would jeapordize 3,000 existing small manufacturing jobs.

The 30+ members of the Community Board’s Rezoning Task Force including 7 GWAPP Board members continue to work diligently to strike a better deal for our neighborhood.

INDIA STREET END PARK

We previously reported that GWAPP received a $45,000 grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund toward the design of a new street end park at the end of Huron Street. Since then, due to ownership issues that arose, it has become necessary to relocate this park to the end of India Street. We are now happy to announce that Jennifer Tracy, a community resident, has graciously stepped forward and volunteered to chair the committee that will manage the design of this park. You will all be receiving an email in early January inviting you to an organizing meeting for this great project.

GWAPP will use the grant money to hire professional consultants to work with the community to design this park and prepare drawings for construction. GWAPP has also applied to the New York Department of State for their upcoming Local Waterfront Revitalization Grant for funds toward the construction. GWAPP is also applying to several other sources for construction funding. You all know it is long past time for Greenpoint to have real access to our East River Waterfront. We hope this becomes our first COMPLETED waterfront park!

OPEN SPACE UPDATE:
The GWAPP/TPL (Trust for Public Land) Parks and Open Space Initiative is complete!

THE FIGHT AGAINST THE PROPOSED 1,100MW POWER PLANT ON NORTH 12TH STREET
With new counsel from Columbia Law School, GWAPP, the Brooklyn Borough President , Community Board 1 and the Greenpoint Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force continue the almost 4 year-old battle against TGE.

On December 15th, Columbia, the City, Greenpoint Landing and staff from the Departments of Public Service and Environmental Conservation filed extensive comments criticizing TGE’s “amendment” proposing to bury its project below the North 12th Street site on the East River waterfront. Columbia previously filed a motion challenging the Siting Board granting TGE the ability to submit this new plant for consideration. The City and Greenpoint Landing joined in the motion, which is still pending.

The comments in opposition focus on the continued incompatibility of the project with the proposed rezoning, the coastal managment plan, and the proposed park between North 9 and North 12th Streets. TGE has not settled on the plant’s final configuration because the City has refused to permit the use of Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant effluent. Opposing parties are also considering filing an Article 78 proceeding against the Siting Board challenging its decision to not issue a ruling earlier this fall.

KEEP CHECKING OUR WEB SITE

At our web site you can the latest information about the issues facing our neighborhood, learn more about GWAPP, and add your information to receive future emails and mailings from us. (Email is our primary means of disseminating information.)

MEETINGS

GWAPP MEETING WITH THE MUNICIPAL ARTS SOCIETY AND OTHERS ON THE REZONING
GWAPP board members Joe Vance and Laura Hofmann met with representatives from the Municipal Arts Society, the Metropolitan Waterfront Association, New Yorkers for Parks, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, the Regional Plan Association and Riverside South to discuss the final GWAPP Open Space Initiative and the parks and open space issues of the rezoning. It was agreed their will be additional meetings to find a common ground for these organizations and others to work together on our waterfront parks and open space issues.

12/10/04 DCP PRESENTATION OF REZONING BEFORE THE NY CHAPTER, AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS
GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance along with others from the Rezoning Task Force attended a presentation of the rezoning by the Department of City Planning to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

12/9/04 BOROUGH PRESIDENT’S HEARING ON THE REZONING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations gave testimony at the hearing held by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz on the proposed rezoning of our neighborhood.

12/6/04 CB1 FINAL VOTE ON THE REZONING
Community Board 1, adopting the position of their Rezoning Task Force, cast their formal vote in the rezoning process. The vote was “No with Modifications” on the rezoning text, (meaning they disapprove of it unless the requested changes are made), and “Yes with modifications” on the mapping of the expanded Northside Park, (meaning they approve of it IF the requested changes are made which include some guarantee that the park land will actually be acquired by the city, and that it be expanded into Greenpoint up to Oak Street)

12/1/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

11/30/04 NORTH BROOKLYN ALLIANCE MEETING WITH CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS DAVID YASSKY AND DIANA REYNA
GWAPP is a member of the North Brookyn Alliance, a coalition of Community Board 1 organizations formed to educate the community on the rezoning and to advocate for the Community Board 1 proposed changes to it. This meeting was to bring both our council members up to date, and to ask them to assist us in taking our position to other members of the City Council.

11/29/04 CITY COUNCIL WATERFRONT COMMITTEE HEARING ON DISCHARGES INTO THE EAST RIVER
GWAPP Board member Laura Hofmann testified on behalf of GWAPP at this hearing.

11/29/04 GWAPP MEETING WITH THE NEWTOWN CREEK MONITORING COMMITTEE
GWAPP met with members of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee, (which also has a few GWAPP Board members on it!), to discuss GWAPP’s position on approaching DEP about additional community amenity funding. As you may know, the Newtown Creek Sewage Treatment Plant in Greenpoint is undergoing a 12 year, 2.7 billion dollar expansion. In light of the $300 million plus that was given to the Bronx for new park land in exchange for their $1 billion dollar water filtration plant, GWAPP feels our community should be getting much more than the Nature Walk and decorative fence being provided on the Treatment Plant site.

11/22/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING WITH THE CB1 ULURP COMMITTEE
The Task Force met with the Uniform Land Use Review committee from the community board, (they are the group that advises the community board on variances and other issues), to discuss the final position of the community board on the rezoning.

11/17/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

11/16/04 CB1 FINAL HEARING ON REZONING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations participated in this standing room only final hearing for the Community Board on the rezoning at Van Arsdale High School. The event was covered by Channel 4 and others. Community members did a FANTASTIC job of conveying their concerns with the rezoning plan.

11/13/04 GROUND BREAKING OF RENOVATION OF THE McCARREN PARK SOCCER FIELD
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the renovation of the McCarren Park soccer field and track. Councilman Yassky, Assemblyman Lentol and Borough President Markowitz all contributed funding, (Councilman Yassky provided over $1 million), for the installation of a new artificial surface on both the field and track. Greenpoint finally gets a FIRST CLASS soccer field that can be used in conditions that would normally be rained out.

11/10/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

11/9/04 BROOKLYN GREENWAY INITIATIVE PLANNING CONFERENCE
GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance helped facilitate this “hands on” planning conference for the Brooklyn Greenway. The Greenway is a proposed pedestrian/bicycle path that will run from the Verrazano Bridge to the Newtown Creek along or adjacent to Brooklyn’s shoreline.

11/9/04 GWAPP MEETING WITH NAG AND FRIENDS OF BEDT PARK
GWAPP, NAG, Friends of BEDT Park and the CB1 Rezoning Task Force Parks and Open Space Subcommittee met to discuss issues concerning the expanded Northside Park proposed by the city in the rezoning.

10/28/04 GWAPP MEETING WITH THE METROPOLITAN WATERFRONT ASSOCIATION
Several GWAPP board members, along with Erik Kulleseid from the Trust for Public Land, met with Carter Craft from the Metropolitan Waterfront Association to present the final findings of our Open Space Initiative and discuss how we can reach out to broader city-wide coalitions on our waterfront parks issues.

10/27/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

10/26/04 CB1/DCP COMMUNITY INFORMATION MEETING ON REZONING
Several GWAPP Board members and member organizations participated in this meeting where the Department of City Planning presented their proposal to rezone our community, and the community presented their opposition and alternate plan.

10/25/04 NEIGHBORHOOD ENERGY FORUM
GWAPP co-sponsored this forum along with Big Apple Solar Installation, Neighborhood Energy Network and the Brooklyn Brewery to educate residents and business owners about local energy issues as well as solar and wind options.

10/20/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE PARKS AND OPEN SPACE SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING
This subcommittee is charged with evaluating the proposed rezoning as it relates to parks and open space.

10/20/04 GWAPP MEETING WITH COLUMBIA LAW
GWAPP board members met with professor Ed Lloyd from the Columbia School of Law regarding the case in which GWAPP has agreed to become a plaintiff in a possible suit against DEP and Diamond Asphalt for irregularities in the granting of a permit for a large asphalt processing plant on Newtown Creek.

10/20/04 GREENPOINT/WILLIAMSBURG WATERFRONT TASK FORCE MEETING WITH COLUMBIA LAW
GWAPP board members along with the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force met with professor Ed Lloyd from the Columbia School of Law regarding the possibility of Columbia becoming the community’s attorney in the TGE case pro-bono.

10/16/04 DEDICATION OF THE MONITOR MUSEUM PROPERTY
A small piece of the land between the Bushwick Creek Inlet at North 14th Street, between the Inlet and Quay Street near the East River shore has been donated by Motiva to the Greenpoint Monitor Museum. This non-profit, headed by Janice Lauletta has been working tirelessly for many years to establish a museum to house artifacts of the Civil War Ironclad Monitor, built and launched just yards away from this site. This donation is the first step to establish a permanent museum here.

10/7//04 GREENPOINT/WILLIAMSBURG WATERFRONT TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP is a member of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force, the community coalition that has been fighting the proposed TGE powerplant for over 3 years. The meeting was to discuss the recent decision and other issues.

10/7/04 GWAPP MEETING WITH TPL AND RPA
GWAPP, the CB1 Rezoning Task Force Parks and Open Space Subcommittee and the Trust for Public Land met with the Regional Plan Association to discuss the issues the community has with the rezoning. In particular, the waterfront shorewalk was discussed and various means to fund it publicly.

10/7/04 NORTH BROOKLYN ALLIANCE MEETING
GWAPP is a member of the North Brookyn Alliance, a coalition of Community Board 1 organizations formed to educate the community on the rezoning and to advocate for the Community Board 1 proposed changes to it.

9/30/04 GWAPP QUARTERLY MEETING
While our quarterly meetings are typically a general update to our member organizations and the community on various issues, this meeting was dedicated to informing everyone about the zoning changes proposed by the city and the community’s alternate proposal. Attended by over 130, we presented the work of the Community Board 1 Rezoning Task Force and conducted a written survey of attendees on the most vital issues of the rezoning.

9/29/04 PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING PENDING TGE HEARING
GWAPP was invited to speak at a press conference held by Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Councilman David Yassky on the action taken by the State Siting Board on the TGE powerplant.

9/27/04 SITE VISIT WITH EDC AT KENT/JAVA PIER SITE
GWAPP Board member Laura Hofmann attended a site visit with the New York Economic Development Committee and the New York City Parks Department regarding the project to develop a shorewalk and pier between Kent and Java Streets on the Greenpoint Waterfront. Watch for news of upcoming public meetings on this.

9/22/04 NORTH BROOKLYN ALLIANCE MEETING
GWAPP is a member of the North Brookyn Alliance, a coalition of Community Board 1 organizations formed to educate the community on the rezoning and to advocate for the Community Board 1 proposed changes to it.

9/20/04 GWAPP BOARD MEETING
GWAPP board members met to discuss pending issues. At this meeting we voted Trina McKeever, member of the Oak Street Block Association, to fill a vacant board position, (WELCOME TRINA!). Other actions included a vote to agree that GWAPP will be a plaintiff in a lawsuit against DEP and Diamond Asphalt for irregularities in the granting of a permit for an enlarged asphalt processing plant on Newtown Creek; a decision to move the “Huron Street End Park” to India Street, discussion about the Cross Harbor Tunnel Project and other misc. issues.

8/31/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE MEETING
GWAPP board members and several GWAPP organizations are working on the Rezoning Task Force to push for changes to the City’s plan to benefit our community.

8/26/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE PARKS AND OPEN SPACE SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING
This subcommittee is charged with evaluating the proposed rezoning as it relates to parks and open space.

8/25/04 “MONITOR PARK” ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
Volunteers interested in acquiring the property on the Greenpoint waterfront where the Civil War Ironclad Monitor was built and launched from met to discuss strategy on moving forward. This property is currently owned by the owners of B&H Photo, who plan 3 residential towers on the site. GWAPP, the Community Board and all others involved in the rezoning have consistently demanded that the city acquire this property as an extension of the park they plan on the Northside. Keep watching for developments. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us.

8/24/04 PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING PENDING TGE HEARING
GWAPP was invited to speak at a press conference held by Councilman David Yassky on the pending hearing by the State Siting Board on the TGE powerplant.

8/18/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE PARKS AND OPEN SPACE SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING WITH DCP
This subcommittee is charged with evaluating the proposed rezoning as it relates to parks and open space. This was a meeting with representatives from the Brooklyn office of City Planning to further discuss the details of the Waterfront Access Plan including features such as benches, lights, fencing, paving, etc.

8/16/04 CB1 REZONING TASK FORCE PARKS AND OPEN SPACE SUBCOMMITTEE MEETING
This subcommittee is charged with evaluating the proposed rezoning as it relates to parks and open space.

EVERY MONTH!!

Every month several GWAPP board members attend regular meetings on behalf of the community- GWAPP Co-chair Christine Holowacz and board member Mike Hofmann attend the monthly meetings of the Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee, (the community oversite group for the 12 year long, 2.7 billion dollar expansion of the sewage treatment plant); the monthly meetings for the Kosciusko Bridge Replacement Project; and the meetings of the Greenpoint Williamsburg Waterfront Task Force, (fighting the TGE Power Plant). GWAPP Board member Laura Hofmann represents GWAPP at the monthly meetings of the Kosciusko Bricge Rplacement Project meetings; has completed the Parks Dept Tree Seminar Course and so will be able to help Greenpoint with the 2005 Tree Census, has been participating along with GWAPP co-chair Christine Holowacz with the CB1 Environmental Committee on the Solid Waste Issue, is working with www.NYC-rapemap.org and MANY, MANY other meetings and concerns. Mike Hofmann also attends the regular meetings of the “Save the G Train” group, Green Oaks meetings, CB#1 Meetings, and MORE!

GWAPP Member Organizations
Brooklyn Legal Services, Inc. : Brooklyn Lighthouse Community Church : Buckminster Fuller Institute : Choir Angelus : Church of the Ascension : Congregation Ahavas Israel : Dupont Street Senior HDFC : Friends of Newtown CreekBarge Terminal Playground : GCU Lodge #1 : Green Oaks : GreenpointGreen : Greenpoint Ave/West St Block Assoc : Greenpoint Civic Council : Greenpoint Property Owners Assoc. : Greenpoint Reformed Church : Greenpoint Renaissance Society : Greenpoint Video Project : Greenpoint/Williamsburg Youth Soccer League : Ind. Friends of McCarren Park, Inc. : Huron Street Block Association : India Street Block Assoc. : John Smolenski Memorial Dem Club : Neighbors Against Garbage : North Brooklyn Development Corp : North Brooklyn Greens : North Greenpoint Neighbors for Environmental Justice : Oak Street Block Association : Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church : Park Moms : People’s Firehouse : Polish American Folk Dance Co. : Polish National Home : Polish Veterans Ladies Auxiliary : Polonia Technica : P.S.C. Community Services, Inc. : River Charter School : St. Anthony/St. Alphonsas Church : St. John’s Lutheran Church : Stop the Barge : Sybiracy : Vincent DePaul Society/St. Anthony’s of Padua : Watchperson Project : WaterWays and Green Views