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Marine Park Civic Association continues fight aganist Yeshiva Ohr Yisroel expansion

Locals still fighting ‘monstrous’ synagogue expansion

Brooklyn Daily

Grass-roots opposition to the dramatic expansion of a Nostrand Avenue synagogue remains sharp, despite a recent vote by Community Board 18 to recommend that the Board of Standards and Appeals approve the Jewish center’s super-sized plans.

“We’re going to continue to attend Marine Park Civic Association meetings, and once we have a BSA meeting date, we’re going to do our best to attend,” said Marine Parkway resident Letizia Intravaia, who lives behind the growing synagogue. “We’re hoping the synagogue doesn’t follow through, or that they try to make a compromise.”

Locals continue to compile signatures from Marine Park residents who say will be impacted by the expansion of the facility — many of whom weren’t even aware of the synagogue’s plans, which involve adding three additional floors to expand its space by nearly 23,000 square feet.

“We are collecting signatures opposing the facility, especially in the close vicinity, because we’re going to suffer the most,” said Marine Parkway resident Merina Avsjukevich. “The community board’s decision was humiliating, and made by people who just don’t care.”

Community Board 18 gave the Nostrand Avenue synagogue and education center overwhelming support for its plans on March 20, despite impassioned pleas from nearby residents and a recommendation from the Marine Park Civic Association to oppose the synagogue’s expansion.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Marine Parkway resident Jose Salce, who lives directly behind the expanding religious center. “Since we got there, it looked like everybody had already made up their mind.”

The synagogue, Yeshiva Ohr Yisroel, sits between Madison Place and Marine Parkway and is currently seeking variances through the Board of Standards and Appeals.

The new third and fourth floors will offer classroom space for roughly 80 students attending grades nine through 12, and the fifth floor will be a gym and recreation space.

Proponents argue that the synagogue is currently bursting at the seams, and that Nostrand Avenue is already strewn with businesses and large apartment buildings, including one directly across the street that, at seven stories, would still dwarf the religious center’s planned expansion.

“This facility happens to be on Nostrand Avenue, where there’s several six or seven story apartment buildings,” said Judah Lieberman, who has a son attending ninth-grade classes at another nearby building affiliated with the synagogue. “Given the large buildings on the other side of the street, I don’t think it’s going to have a negative impact on Marine Park.”

Nearby residents, however, bemoaned the five-story synagogue as a “monstrosity.”

“The plan of an expansion of a 5,000-square-foot building to 27,000 square feet is daunting. When new construction of ‘monstrosity’ size takes place, as some have referred to it, it will affect existing structures around it,” read a letter to CB18 by Marine Parkway residents Jose and Letizia Salce.

The complaints are myriad, concerning everything from parking and traffic, to air conditioners that will pollute the air and the synagogue’s proposed towering height, which opponents say will blot out the sun.

“It would block the sun, I wouldn’t have privacy. I couldn’t go in my backyard and be free to open my doors, and that’s one of the reasons we bought this house, because we feel free there,” said Avsjukevich, who lives behind the synagogue on Marine Parkway.

Lieberman admits that the synagogue’s expansion will affect people living in the direct vicinity, but he criticized people who live in other parts of the neighborhood coming to protest its plans, likening them to rabble-rousers.

“I think there are people who are concerned about Marine Park as a neighborhood, but who are not in close enough proximity to be impacted by it,” he said. “Someone on Kimball Street shouldn’t be concerned about parking on Nostrand Avenue. It’s good to be concerned about your neighborhood, but not when it comes to rabble-rousing about something that needs to expand.”

“To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs,” Lieberman added, “and it’s just unfortunate when you’re the egg.”

But Avsjukevich says just the opposite, saying the whole neighborhood will be affected by the so-called “monstrosity.”

“It was presented like only a handful of people would suffer from it, which is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard,” she said. “It’s not just two families that will be affected, the whole neighborhood will be affected.”

The Board of Standards and Appeals won’t be making its decision anytime soon and no hearings on the matter have yet been scheduled — Yeshiva Ohr Yisroel attorney Jordan Most doesn’t expect a sit down with the Board to be set until after May 1.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Concerned Brooklynite from Midwood says:
As an original (as in born in Brooklyn in 1971) Brooklynite who has lived in Midwood for 42 years and frequently enjoyed Marine Park, all I can say is I am sorry for the inevitable transformation that is coming.
There are days it can literally take 15 minutes to get out of my driveway because of traffic and that is on a side street. My driveway is blocked about a half dozen times a day because they don't see property as private, more like the communities' so "what's the big deal, I'll only be there 20 minutes". It's like the egg comment in the article, it is SO arrogant it makes me sick to my stomach.
But there is not much you can do, they have the numbers, they hold political offices and they vote in a solid unwavering block.
First it's the synagogue, then the residential variances, like the 4 story 10,000 square foot residence 3 houses down that shadows my house and blocks my rooftop antenna's clear line of sight to Manhattan. Oh well, your property values WILL skyrocket and crime will plummet but I suggest you sell out before you get stuck like me and are as socially isolated in your own neighborhood as an alien creature from another planet.
Good luck Marine Park.
April 4, 2013, 10:08 am
John from Marine park says:
First a note to the author. I was standing next to you when you spoke to mr Lieberman YOU said that omelette comment to him. You falsely attribute your horrible words to someone.
And how many times did you use the word monstrous? Unbiased journalism at its best!
The Brooklyn daily should be embarrassed!
And to the wonderfully concerned brooklynite.
You overt anti-Semite. You liked the neighborhood more when crime was up and property values were down? That is some concern for your neighborhood! Oh yes THEY are coming. Maybe join the nazi party. It's people like you that give us all a bad name. Diversity is good for our neighborhood.
April 5, 2013, 1:32 am
Mark from Marine Park says:
If Mr. Lieberman thinks this doesn't concern someone who lives ten blocks away, he is sadly mistaken. Once this precedent is set, it will spread to the whole neighborhood. There's a reason why there are zoning laws. They are designed to protect the character of a neighborhood. We should not try to change them to meet our own agendas. As to John's comment, I agree, diversity is good for a neighborhood; overbuilding and over developement is not.
April 5, 2013, 10:45 am
J from MArine PArk says:
IT goes beyond the synagogue, they are pushing anyone who is not an Orthodox Jew right out of the neighborhood. I have seen this area become one big synagogue over the last 20 years, the Jewish mafia has over inflated the price of houses in the area. In the late 90's they went doo to door offering prices 40% more than the market value to get all non-Jews and Secular Jews OUT. They will not stop, until the entire area is 100% Orthodox. It's depressing
April 5, 2013, 11:01 am
J from MArine PArk says:
"concerned Brooklyinte" EXACTLY. I feel like an outcast in my own area of 40 years. It is horrible
April 5, 2013, 11:03 am
Anthony from Marine Park says:
John from Marine Park, thanks for continuing the trend of associating anyone who opposes something with a Jewish theme to the Nazis. Anti-Semitism all around!!! Pathetic.
April 5, 2013, 11:04 am
Anthony from Marine Park says:
Drive through Borough Park and see what these monstrosities do for the look of the neighborhood.
April 5, 2013, 11:10 am
J from Marine Park says:
Truth be told Orthodox are the most racist people alive. I know many defectors from Jewish educational facilities who left because of the things they teach about non Jews. Nobody DARE talk about such things. Anti-Semite is the label they use to protect themselves from being exposed. The Hasidim are not as bad, it's the Orthodox, who view themselves as superior to everyone else. You are cattle in the Orthodox eyes.
April 5, 2013, 11:16 am
A from Marine Park says:
I wholeheartedly oppose the expansion of this synagogue. Ever since this synagogue opened its doors its been a nightmare looking for parking. These people also have serious disregard for parking rules and park in driveways, pumps and whereever they can. I am very frustrated. Concerned Brooklynite, I agree with you. John from Marine Park, how can you call this diversity when all non-jews are getting pushed out the neighborhood. I find these Orthodox Jews very anti-social and exclusive. This is truly sad
April 5, 2013, 12:21 pm
Bettyanne from Marine Park says:
I think that its about time all the Christians should stick together. There are more of us. But for some reason we don't stick together. This is MARINE PARK not Boro Park. I have lived here all my 50 years, I'll be damned if I allow them to chase me out. I am tired of hearing that I am anti-semite. They stick together and shun us. But that is okay. Maybe the Orthodox should look in the mirror and see where the hate starts. I have them living on my block, and I am completly ignored. But that is acceptable because I am not one of them. They can't come one at a time and fit in a neighborhood. They come flooding in all at once an try and take over. They buy houses and turn them into synagogue, then there is no tax for them, but MY taxes keep going up. When is this going to stop??????????
April 5, 2013, 1:04 pm
John from Marine park says:
Who exactly is chasing us out of the neighborhood?
Did anyone force people to sell?
April 5, 2013, 6:26 pm
Jose from Marine Park says:
To John from Marine park comment."Who exactly is chasing us out of the neighborhood? Did anyone force people to sell?"
There are many was to chase people out of their neighborhood and homes without using force (pitch & forks).
You could build a massive building right next to them and dispose garbage on their vicinity, roaches and mice will take care of chasing people out of the neighborhood and force people to sell.
You used to come from work pull into your driveway but you cannot do that anymore. There is always someone blocking your driveway. Should I wait 5 – 20 minutes or should I look for parking somewhere else. That takes care of chasing us out of the neighborhood and force people to sell
While a cheap and shady construction is taking place, damage to adjacent houses is done. There are cracks and foundation issues and your insurance won't cover it. That takes care of chasing us out of the neighborhood and force people to sell
Unruly youngsters play basketball right next to your backyard at 7 AM every Sunday. The only day I could rest and have a couple of extra hours of sleep. That takes care of chasing us out of the neighborhood and force people to sell.
You used to seat on your backyard, enjoy the trees and the sunset. Now there are no trees, there is no sunset, just a 5 story building and boys peeking thru the windows staring at anyone that dares step out in their own yard. Privacy gone. That takes care of chasing us out of the neighborhood and force people to sell.
If John was directly affected he might have a different take on this matter.
April 5, 2013, 7:52 pm
Phyllis from Marine Park says:
Well said, Jose, well said. Living next to horrible neighbors is a nightmare. Your life can be made miserable in too many ways to count. I am lucky to have wonderful neighbors NOW, but it wasnt always like that. If more space is needed, buy another building across the street that is already 7 stories high. No one will object. This is why there are rules and regulations for building--to keep the integrity of the neighborhood intact. If you have outgrown the building--move.
April 5, 2013, 8:03 pm
Mary from Marine Park says:
Good points, Phyllis!
John, with respect to the values of Jewish culture, let me note that even in this dicussion your comment was the first one openly offensive and unethical. It is easy to blame people in anti-semitism. but if you instigate a conflict and demonstrate disrespect, you should be ready to reep what you sow...as simple as that...and the harvest is usually greater than a seed.
April 6, 2013, 8:59 am
Link from Marine Park says:
The problem is the size of the building, occupancy, and NO PARKING( no matter what religeous organization is doing it)! personally I would not like a skyscraper in my backyard! But it goes far beyond the backyards- it will really reshape the whole neighborhood. As to the best of my knowledge, there is a city plan to turn Nostrand Avenue into the expressway, with no parking allowed either. This, in addition to 934 people expected in a new structure will make our neighborhood a jam! Even those who want it, will face the music.


People move to residential area and choose to pay high prices for the houses because the place meets their needs. Zoning requirements usually guarantee the limits of possible constructions. People count on that! With this skysraper and flood of cars next to my house, I would feel cheated and forced to move, too. Hundreds of people along Madison Place, Marine Prkway etc. will have to start EVERY MORNING with a stressfull situation of getting out of their driveways! They should also enjoy daily cleaning of streets in front of their houses, since the amount of litter wiil increase tremendously...

MPCA represents ALL the members in the community and decided not to "yes" the construction. DOB also denied it in October.Home owners know that even a change in a facade of a house is usually disapproved since we should preserve the neighborhood... How could then community board approve a project changing zoning rules and so negatively affecting the quality of life in the whole neighborhood! It must be less destructive than changing a facade of a house....Anti-democratic!
April 7, 2013, 9:59 am
Kristine from Marine Park says:
If the community board members don't care, try to reach elected officials. Someone has to hear other people's voices and concerns.
April 7, 2013, 12:12 pm
Shaun from Marine Park from Marine Park says:
Kristine, you assume we have elected officials who do anything. Marine Park has the horror of having Lewis Fidler as our Council person. Lew when not running for another office is usually playing sick from his duties as a Councilman. Also, Fidler only does what is best for Fidler! This is the same creap who voted for a third term for himself in spite of OVERWHELMING opposition to it. He is also the same pollitician who has a problem with parking legally, not using children as his personal mailman, openly mocks Chinese people and has a history of making derogatory remarks against the Catholic Church. Lew BTW, is in favor of the building dispute the objection of most people in the area.

Another think to consider is that Alan Maisel also stated that he is ok with the building. That being said, please remember that when Maisel runs for City Council saying he'll represent you.
April 7, 2013, 2:10 pm
Cris from Marine Park says:
I live in Marine Park for the reasons you all mention and I'm happy for quality of life we have . I think we need to think of others needs and when putting it into perspective I agree with the expansion.

Let me clarify a few things:
1) I would not blame the elected officials. They represent the whole community, and correct me if I'm wrong ,but "the neighborhood" people on the CB voted 33 - 2 in favor of approving this measure.
2) When a school needs more space it doesn't have to move from where its needed,Marine Park has a public school on P and E 33 as well as Stuart St as well as Kimball St , as well as Coleman St and Flatlands, and I haven't heard complaints of people not wanting to live here because of all these monster school buildings.
3) The filing was not for 934 person occupancy(this questions was presented to the attorney at the CB18 meeting ) , but rather for about 150-200 (mostly teens that don't drive. The attorney mentioned that there are different uses for the building and that it will not and cannot be used all at once.

lets not always agree ,but understand there may be another point of view
April 7, 2013, 6:13 pm
Shaun from Marine Park from Marine Park says:
Well written Chris,

However, elected officials are suppose to do what is best for the entire community not just one group. For that scoundrel to side with the school being built while we in the community worked so hard to stop the building on Kimball Street from going up is wrong.

Two, when public schools are needed, they DO NOT just pick a spot and shove the building down everyone else's throat. When PS 207 needed space, they took over the old St. Thomas building. Your simply ignorant to connect public schools that have been around for over 25 years with a "NEW EXTENSION" catering to only those from one particular group.

Three, the building request ABSOLUTELY states the total occupancy as for 934 people. There was debate as to if the school will ever occupy as much but the PLANS submitted say that the building can hold 934.

Lastly, you put together a great argument. I wish that the opponents of the building were allowed to do the same during the CB 18 meeting but we were not. You see, the discussion was started with Dorothy stating that she is from the area and that Parking would not be a concern. A that is a flat out LIE, she lives in the same Mill Basin house she use to share with Krugar and her sons. Krugar and one of her children are now in FEDERAL PRISON for their parts in taking bribes.

As I stated in a post in an earlier article, there probably was room for both sides to come together and make concessions but the fact that the CB 18 meeting was dominated with Dorothy's constant interruptions and unethical behavior. The Rabbi has no reason to sit and make any concessions.

The one sidedness of this entire debate has done one thing for sure! It has woken up a lot of Marine Park Residents to the FACT that they are quickly becoming forgotten and ignored. It's imperative that the people who have been sitting on the sidelines get off their butts and get involved in the discussion.
April 7, 2013, 7:21 pm
Shaun from Marine Park from Marine Park says:
I found the below text taken from this very paper written a few years back. Read it and tell me if the "accuser's" statements seem so far fetched in light of Fodlers recent actions.
Again these are not my words but an article printed in this paper relating to Lew.
"But probably the most surprising allegation on the site -- the one that prompted a cyberspace response by Fidler himself -- was that how Fidler was allegedly in the pocket of a Marine Park Jewish Political Action Committee, who the website claims wants to “change the face of Marine Park” -- a statement that Fidler and others say is anti-Semitic.

“We all know and accept that over time, communities change. But, not every neighborhood is being forced to accept change forced by a political action committee advocating one community group over another,” read the post, which was written by TheFidler.com staffers. “We here at TheFidler.com don’t think we’d be comfortable with a group influencing politicians and giving money to support their forced agenda when it comes to a community divided. A real advocate would support both sides and fight for the whole community without prejudice. But Lew took the road more traveled.”

Fidler was so incensed that he posted a response on Sheepsheadbites.com when the blog ran an item about the website and the allegations about Marine Park. TheFidler.com does not accept web feedback.

“Frankly, posting the articles without the truth attached to it is utterly irresponsible,” he wrote under the name “Lew From Brooklyn.”

“Disseminating in this manner is almost beneath contempt. I am sure that encouraging someone to ‘whack me’ on line will give some people a silly pleasure, but I doubt that my wife or kids will appreciate it.”

Thus began a back-and-forth between Fidler and Berardelli (writing as “Gene B.”) and supporters for each that amounted to 74 postings on Sheepsheadbites.com at last count.

During the back-and-forth, Fidler asked Berardelli if he had a defense for the Marine Park post “which comes with strong anti-Semitic undertones.”

“Marine Park is a community divided? Says who?” Fidler wrote. “Change the face of Marine Park? How? By running a charitable organization that feeds hungry families?”

“Is it so disgusting to say that there is a division between the Marine Park civic organizations?” Berardelli fired back noting stories from the Jewish Press and Yeshiva World on the subject. “I know many residents in Marine Park have spoken to me and others about divergent agendas in Marine Park. Opinions on zoning being one of them. Is it so disgusting to say that you support that organization and its PAC?”"

MAKES ONE WONDER!!!!!!
April 7, 2013, 8:21 pm
John from Marine Park says:
We need to start a petition to have dorothy turano step down
April 8, 2013, 12:21 pm
Kristine from Marine Park says:
ToCris: before Shaun’s comments, no one was blaming elected officials. Community Board members are appointed, not elected. The ratio 33:2 really demonstrates a biased decision, considering the fact that the community opposed the construction.
As to the public schools, Shaun is right- first of all, they are PUBLIC ; second, people oppose them, too. Besides, they are usually separated from private houses by a street or a playground.
Not All the people living close to them want to move- some just don’t care. Those who want, either have no money (since it’s very costly), or can’t sell the house because of the school. It takes a long time to find a decent buyer who would CHOOSE to live in a filthy, highly trafficked, and noisy area!( If you want to hear their complaints, invite the right people to the meeting next time... )
Next, if a school doesn’t have to move from where it’s needed, why not to expand those two facilities where these teens currently study? It’s needed there! WHY MOVE? At least, follow the zoning requirements!
The statements like “they will not drive, they will not use, they will not litter” etc. don’t work, because we know that school is a school, teens are teens, and 934 occupancy means 934 occupancy!
April 8, 2013, 10:12 pm
John from Marine park says:
Shame on all of you!
April 8, 2013, 11:40 pm
A caring neighbor from Marine Park says:
I don't live within the vicinity of the block being affected by this expansion, but my close friend who lives on that block purchased the house there 4 years ago when the housing market collapsed mainly for the peace and tranquility. They were aware of the synagogue and noisy car wash nearby.

With this expansion, they will certainly lose privacy in the comfort of their backyard along with the great deal amount of sun shining on them.

Like comments from others earlier, the car wash didn't seem to get a lot business and I always wonder how it stays afloat. Perhaps the synagogue may consider buying the car wash and build from there instead?
April 9, 2013, 10:53 am
A shocked Marine Park resident from Marine Park says:
I am appaled at the tone everyone has taken to this project being undertaken by the school. These people need schooling for their children and they decided to build it on Nostrand Avenue - a largely commercial strip. They actually had the cheaper option of building it on Quentin Road and the low 30's but decided not to because of the negative effect they thought it would have on the mostly residential neighbors. So these "horrible" people (as you almost all make them out to be) are spending more money then they had to so that they can have a school for their kids in the neighborhood. What is wrong with all of you? Do you realize how out of touch you sound? This is a school which everyone can agree (other than the 2 hot-headead and obviously anti-semetic individuals as seen from their actions at the CB meeting - one of them actually called them animals!) has greatly contributed to the overall beauty and success of the neighborhood. Do you think they will now go ahead and ruin all the hard work they already put in?!
April 9, 2013, 4:38 pm
A caring neighbor from Marine Park says:
i would never call them animals or anything like that. but please do think from the home owners' point of view. how would you feel after spending much of your life saving on a house hoping for peace and quiet and the much needed privacy, and now it will be all gone because right across your backyard stands a 5 story tall school building? I would be upset for sure, would you not?

also even if the students do not drive, the teachers/workers/parents probably do and will clog up traffic along Nostrand and nearby area for sure.

Worst is the fact that these residents were not given advance notice until just before the meeting, and the community board voted in huge favor without considering the concerns from the nearby residents. I don't suppose any of the board members live within the area.
April 10, 2013, 2:43 pm
Kristine from Marine Park says:
Dear "shocked resident"

Your comment is really shocking. Nobody is asking them to "ruin all the hard work they already put in," DON'T RUIN WHAT OTHERS HAVE AND APPRECIATE! To your knowledge, this side of Nostrand Avenue is NOT commercial - it's residential...
Besides, do you think this construction will not have a negative effect on these residents as well? What is the difference?
April 13, 2013, 10:24 pm
A caring neighbor from Marine Park says:
Just a heads up for those who are interested in discussing this issue further in person. The Marine Park Civic Association is having its monthly meeting tomorrow 8 PM April 16th at the Carmine Carro Community Center between between Madison Place and Marine Pkwy.

Get your voices heard!

http://www.marineparkcivic.com/
April 15, 2013, 8:26 am

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