Members of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association enlisted some extra help this week in their ongoing campaign against non-contextual building.
City Councilmember Bill de Blasio represents residents of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Street, Park Slope, Winsor Terrace, Kensington and Boro Park, but he’s running to succeed Marty Markowitz as Brooklyn borough president.
“There’s nothing sinful about saying some development does not fit,” de Blasio told the assemblage gathered at the Kings Highway Reformed Church on Quentin Road.
De Blasio is currently knee-deep in efforts to downzone Carroll Gardens and scale back a number of large condominium developments in the brownstone community.
While Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association Vice-President Ed Jaworski complained about a “fevered” pro-development culture at both the Department of Buildings and the Board of Standards & Appeals, de Blasio stressed the effectiveness of putting community pressure on developers.
“Communities working with elected officials can change things,” de Blasio said.
Brooklyn trails only Queens in the number of violations issued by the Department of Buildings.
The latest figures compiled for the month of February finds the DOB issued 1,332 violations in Brooklyn and 1,392 in Queens.
Brooklyn virtually tied its sister borough in the number of building applications submitted in the same period with 1,171. Queens had 1,172.
De Blasio, who also chairs the General Welfare Committee, touted community pressure in convincing developer William Stein to remove controversial architect Robert Scarano from his Oliver House development at 360 Smith Street in Carroll Gardens.
Residents there have been fighting a pitch battle to have the 48-unit, 70-foot-plus tall condominium development at the corner of 2nd Place and Smith Street brought into context with the rest of the traditional low-rise community.
Many community activists say that they have actually lost that battle, but de Blasio told the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association that the developer was willing to compromise and that the new building set to rise over the entrance to the F and G subway lines will “fit into the community that surrounds it.”
“This developer came to the realization that he’d better find a way to work with us,” de Blasio said.
The Oliver House is a “luxury” condominium development, meaning all the units will be sold at market rates.
“Everything is luxury,” Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association member Antoinette Vasile complained. “What about the people who don’t have luxury salaries? We’re driving them out of Brooklyn.”
De Blasio pointed to parents from his own kid’s little league team that have been caught in the crunch. The couple
©2008 Community News Group
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