GWAPP Newsletter: 2005, volume 1

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. We publish this eNewsletter to keep you up-to-date on all our latest activities. We hope that you will find the information useful in tracking what is happening on matters important to our community. Feel free to send us any comments or questions.

Oh, by the way… We are a 100% volunteer run organization and REALLY appreciate any and all donations. GWAPP is a 501(c)(3)- your donations are tax deductable. Our mailing address is: GWAPP, 181 N11th Street, Suite 202, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

GENERAL NEWS:

REZONING NEARLY COMPLETE:
The process for rezoning much of our community is almost over. The final hearing at City Council was held April 4th, the final City Council vote will take place in early May. Both Community Board 1 and Borough President Marty Markowitz have 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.

Building on the work of the Community Board 1 Rezoning Task Force, involved organizations are now working hard with city-wide civic groups to further detail solutions that would address the community’s needs and to pitch them to city council members and city agencies…

On parks and open space issues, a coalition has formed comprised of The Municipal Art Society, the Regional Plan Association, Trust for Public Land, New Yorkers for Parks, the Metropolitan Waterfront Association, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Brooklyn Community Board 1 and GWAPP.

The coalition is pushing for the following:

  • for more park land to be added to the rezoning
  • for the shorewalk to be built “up front” instead of over 10-20 years using public funding that would be partially reimbursed by the waterfront developers
  • for the waterfront developers to turn the title of the shorewalk land over to the city once construction is complete
  • for the creation of a Greenpoint/Williamsburg Parks Conservancy that- working with City Parks- would oversee the maintenance of the new public shorewalk as well as raising private funds for the improvement of the existing upland parks.

INDIA STREET END PARK

As previously reported, 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 India Street. A community organizing meeting has been held and a Steering Committee formed, led by GWAPP volunteer Jennifer Tracy. We are now meeting with the Parks Department and DOT to work out details for the hiring of consultants to design the park. 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.

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 CONTINUES

On 2/3/05 TGE met with community leaders to present new information regarding their proposed powerplant. They stated their opinion the plant would actually reduce local air pollutants due to reduced operation of the ConEd plants in the Navy Yard and at 14th Street, and offered from $50 to $100 million dollars toward affordable housing should the community decide to endorse their project. On 2/25/05 GWAPP issued a press release rejecting these offers after determining they likely have no merit. On 2/16/05 Community Board 1 issued a similar letter.

Opposing parties are also considering filing an Article 78 proceeding against the Siting Board challenging its decision to not issue a ruling on the application.

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

4/4/05 CITY COUNCIL HEARING ON REZONING
Several GWAPP board members and MANY GWAPP member organizations attended and spoke at the City Council Hearing on the rezoning. The community did a fantastic job it showing up and making our concerns regarding the rezoning heard.

4/4/05 COMMUNITY PRESS CONFERENCE ON REZONING
The community held a press conference on the steps of City Hall during the rezoning hearings. GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance joined Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member David Yassky, Council Member Diana Reyna and other community leaders to speak out on the changes needed to the rezoning plan.

4/3/05 COMMUNITY PRESS CONFERENCE ON REZONING
The community held a press conference on the steps of City Hall on the day prior to the hearings.. GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance joined Council Member David Yassky and other community leaders to speak out on the changes needed to the rezoning plan.

3/31/05 COMMUNITY BOARD 1 AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE REZONING: MEETING WITH COUNCIL MEMBER KATZ
The committee met with Council Member Katz to present the communities concerns and solutions regarding the proposed rezoning. GWAPP board members Christine Holowacz, Christopher Olechowski and Joe Vance serve on this committee, board members Mike and Laura Hofmann attend as observers.

3/30/05 GWAPP QUARTERLY MEETING
Over 60 people attended the quarterly meeting at the Polish National Home. The main topic of discussion was the pending rezoning of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. We briefed attendees on the latest information- what the city is proposing versus what the community is demanding. We emphasized the importance of people rallying behind the parks issues, asking them to contact Councilman Yassky, Speaker Gifford Miller and Mayor Bloomburg, and asked that people attend the April 4th hearing. There was brief discussion of the proposal by CB1 to demolish the McCarren Park Pool and all the buildings except the main entry. As we did not have complete information on this at the time of the meeting it could not be further discussed. We will make this an agenda item at the next meeting. The continued fight against the TGE powerplant was discussed, the community continues to oppose the project, even though the developer is attempting to entice the community with offers of $50 million for more affordable housing.

3/29/05 COMMUNITY BOARD 1 AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE REZONING
Community Board 1 dissolved the Rezoning Task Force upon the issuance of it’s final report to the community board, which formed the Community Board’s formal response to the City on the proposed rezoning. The community board has now formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Rezoning- comprised largely of members of the original Task Force. This group will review new information and continue to advise the Community Board on the rezoning. GWAPP board members Christine Holowacz, Christopher Olechowski and Joe Vance serve on this committee, board members Mike and Laura Hofmann attend as observers.

3/22/05 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.

3/18/05 NEWMAN REAL ESTATE INSTITUTE SEMINAR ON THE GREENPOINT/WILLIAMSBURG REZONING
GWAPP co-chair Joe Vance spoke about shortcomings in the proposed rezoning of parks and open space and presented the community’s plan to properly address these issues.

3/17/05 MEETING WITH CITY-WIDE CIVIC GROUPS ON OPEN SPACE REZONING ISSUES
GWAPP is working with several city-wide civic organizations including The Municipal Art Society, The Regional Plan Association, The Trust for Public Land, New Yorkers For Parks, The Metropolitan Waterfront Association and the Brooklyn Greenway Iniative on open space issues in the proposed rezoning of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. These groups are working together to address the parks and open space issues raised by the CB1 Rezoning Task Force Parks and Open Space Subcommittee.

3/17/05 COMMUNITY BOARD 1 AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE REZONING
Community Board 1 dissolved the Rezoning Task Force upon the issuance of it’s final report to the community board, which formed the Community Board’s formal response to the City on the proposed rezoning. The community board has now formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Rezoning- comprised largely of members of the original Task Force. This group will review new information and continue to advise the Community Board on the rezoning. GWAPP board members Christine Holowacz, Christopher Olechowski and Joe Vance serve on this committee, board members Mike and Laura Hofmann attend as observers.

3/14/05 COMMUNITY PRESS CONFERENCE ON REZONING
GWAPP board members Rich Mazur and Joe Vance along with along with several other community leaders and elected officials spoke at a press conference after the City Planning Commission vote on the rezoning.

3/14/05 CITY PLANNING COMMISSION VOTE ON REZONING
GWAPP board members Christine Holowacz, Laura Hofmann, Chris Olechowski, Adam Perlmutter, Rich Mazur and Joe Vance along with numerous members of the community attended the vote at the City Planning Commission.

3/4/05 MEETING WITH DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF STATE PARKS
GWAPP co-chair met with the Deputy Commissioner of State Parks and presented the GWAPP/TPL Open Space Plan as well as reviewing the issues with the pending rezoning.

3/2/05 COMMUNITY BOARD 1 AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE REZONING
Community Board 1 dissolved the Rezoning Task Force upon the issuance of it’s final report to the community board, which formed the Community Board’s formal response to the City on the proposed rezoning. The community board has now formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Rezoning- comprised largely of members of the original Task Force. This group will review new information and continue to advise the Community Board on the rezoning. GWAPP board members Christine Holowacz, Christopher Olechowski and Joe Vance serve on this committee, board members Mike and Laura Hofmann attend as observers.

2/22/05 TOUR WITH OUTRAGE AND BOROUGH PRESIDENT’S OFFICE
GWAPP board members Christine Holowacz and Mike and Laura Hofmann gave representatives from OUTRAGEand the Borough President’s office a tour of the poor conditions around Allocco Recycling. The tour will be instrumental in the BP comments on the facility.

2/22/05 GWAPP BOARD MEETING
GWAPP board members met to discuss pending issues. At this meeting an application for membership to GWAPP from the Buckminster Fuller Institute was reviewed and approved, the 2/3/05 meeting with TGE was discussed and a decision made to issue a press release rejecting the offers, and the status of the rezoning was discussed.

2/22/05 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.

2/8/05 INDIA STREET END PARK ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
GWAPP held a meeting to update the community on the new park we are designing at the end of India Street. At this meeting a Steering Committee was formed to guide the project, chaired by GWAPP volunteer Jennifer Tracy.

2/3/05 COMMUNITY MEETING WITH TRANSGAS ENERGY SYSTEMS
GWAPP Board members Christine Holowacz, Laura Hofmann, Mike Hofmann, Christopher Olechowski and Joe Vance attended a meeting organized by Community Board 1 at the request of TGE to hear the latest about their proposed powerplant on our waterfront. Both GWAPP and CB1 subsequently issued statements rejecting the community amenities offered by TGE at this meeting.

2/2/05 MEETING WITH CITY-WIDE CIVIC GROUPS ON OPEN SPACE REZONING ISSUES
GWAPP is working with several city-wide civic organizations including The Municipal Art Society, The Regional Plan Association, The Trust for Public Land, New Yorkers For Parks, The Metropolitan Waterfront Association and the Brooklyn Greenway Iniative on open space issues in the proposed rezoning of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. These groups are working together to address the parks and open space issues raised by the CB1 Rezoning Task Force Parks and Open Space Subcommittee.

2/1/05 BROOKLYN GREENWAY PUBLIC MEETING
GWAPP board member Joe Vance participated in a meeting updating the status of the Brooklyn Greenway. The Greenway will ultimately be a bicycle and pedestrian path that will run from Newtown Creek at the north end of Greenpoint- all the way along the Brooklyn waterfront to the Verazzano Bridge. Joe also serves on the board of the Greenway.

2/1/05 CITY COUNCIL SOLID WASTE HEARING
GWAPP board member Laura Hofmann gave testimony at a hearing regarding the proposed new Solid Waste Management Plan. If executed as proposed, this plan may reduce the amount of truck traffic as well as the number of transfer stations in our community.

1/19/05 CITY PLANNING COMMISSION HEARING ON GREENPOINT/WILLIAMSBURG REZONING
GWAPP gave testimony on behalf of the community on the shortcomings of the rezoning in providing sufficient parks and open space.

1/18/05 PUBLIC ADVOCATE’S PRESS CONFERENCE ON REZONING
GWAPP participated in a press conference held by NYC Public Advocate Betsey Gotbaum on the East River waterfront regarding the proposed rezoning of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. Ms. Gotbaum called the Bloomberg Administration’s plan for the redevelopment of Greenpoint-Williamsburg a raw deal, saying it cheats residents out of desirable green space and fails to deal with a looming transportation crisis and school overcrowding. Joining residents and local officials in the neighborhood today, Gotbaum noted that the administration has taken a far more lavish approach to Manhattan’s West Side. “In Manhattan, they’re willing to spend billions on a boulevard park and an extension of the 7 train, all so they can have Midtown West,” Gotbaum said. “In Brooklyn, they’re nickel-and-diming residents over parks and refusing to overhaul a transportation system that’s already bursting at the seams. The double standard couldn’t be more blatant.”

1/10/05 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.

1/6/05 MEETING WITH CITY-WIDE CIVIC GROUPS ON OPEN SPACE REZONING ISSUES
GWAPP is working with several city-wide civic organizations including The Municipal Art Society, The Regional Plan Association, The Trust for Public Land, New Yorkers For Parks, The Metropolitan Waterfront Association and the Brooklyn Greenway Iniative on open space issues in the proposed rezoning of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. These groups are working together to address the parks and open space issues raised by the CB1 Rezoning Task Force Parks and Open Space Subcommittee.

1/5/05 PARKS DEPT/EDC MEETING ON WNYC PARK
Several GWAPP Board members attended a public meeting by the Parks Department and the Economic Development Corporation on the new park project at the end of Greenpoint Avenue, former site of the WNYC radio trasmission towers. Parks and EDC are planning a park here, as well as a possible pier between Kent and Java Streets. Also being discussed is a floating pool and water taxi at this location.

1/4/05 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.

EVERY MONTH!!
Every month several GWAPP board members attend regular meetings on behalf of the community- GWAPP Co-chair Christine Holowacz and board members Mike and Laura 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