Don't Upzone Lefferts Place

It's important for communities to come together to protect the neighborhood and promote responsible development.  Currently, a developer is trying to pull some backhanded moves on Lefferts Place, where they are trying to upzone the street in order to build a large senior resident complex. More info, and a petition to support blocking the upzoning, follows from the Society for Clinton Hill:

Dear Friends:

Our neighbors on Lefferts Place and St. James are in need of help. They are concerned about the plans of a company called CNR which provides assisted care and housing for seniors. They want to build a new facility on Lefferts Place, which is a gorgeous street with beautiful brownstones, some free-standing mansions, and very old row houses.

The problem is that CNR wants to build a building larger than our R6B zoning allows. They do have options such as:

a) build a structure that conforms to the zoning regulations,

b) apply for a variance for that one building,

c) locate the building on Atlantic Avenue or Fulton Street which have the zoning they would need and those streets need development.

d) find another more appropriate location all together.

Unfortunately, what CNR apparently wants to do is to change the zoning on the entire block to be the same as that on Atlantic and Fulton. (As you know, when developers are pursuing your block, you have a hard time getting the full and accurate story in time to do anything. And, what you are told constantly changes. This situation is no different.)

Of course, the immediate community and we are extremely concerned about this. First, and obviously, what would this mean about our years of work to get the new zoning? Would every developer just go in and undo what years of work produced? And, if CNR really just wants to build one building and isn’t planning to do more on that beautiful street, why would they want the entire block up-zoned??

Consequently, our friends on Lefferts Place are circulating a petition to demonstrate that the community opposes the audacious proposal to change the zoning we all worked so hard for years to achieve. We don’t need or want giant structures within the brownstone buildings. The Planning Commission, City Council, CB2 and others agreed with and approved the down-zoning, so this planned request is a slap in the face to everyone, and specifically to all those who live on this quiet residential street.

Please support our Lefferts Place neighbors by signing the attached petition and forwarding it on to others who support keeping Clinton Hill at a Clinton Hill scale.

Skinny Condos on Fulton

Last year, I briefly noted the new building of skinny condos on Fulton between Clinton and Waverly.  Now, they're ready for purchase! condos for sale

I couldn't imagine what the apartments must look like in such a narrow building, so I jumped at the chance to stop into an open house last weekend while walking by.

They aren't huge, but felt surprisingly spacious.  The model unit I saw even had 2 full baths!

However, I noticed one glaring problem.  The stairs leading up to the loft area were so narrow and steep that they may as well have been a ladder!  One too many cocktails and I'd come tumbling down immediately.  (Though at least the loft has a bathroom, eliminating the potential need to go up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.)

Intriguing Loft Condos

There's a lot of action up on Grand between Myrtle and Park. Most intriguing is the "Retro Loft."

Unlike the other stuff flying up nearby, this building was already here and is being repurposed.

Directly across the street, we have this dorm-like building with a wonky awning and a nice parking lot:

What do these places look like on the inside???

(Brownstoner coverage here!)

Atlantic Yards Rally: Saturday

From SCH: Recent conditions have caused Forest City Ratner to put an indefinite hold on the signature buildings (like "Miss Brooklyn" and the "Urban Room") and the public housing at Atlantic Yards.

People are asking ever more loudly, where are the benefits and why is he knocking down buildings when he is not planning to build for decades?

The Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (of which SCH is a member), Brooklyn Speaks, and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (of which SCH is a supporter), along with various elected officials are holding a rally to call on Governor Patterson to take a Time Out and put a hold on demolitions, unnecessary changes to infrastructure, huge public subsidies and the displacement of residents and businesses. There has to be a better way!

Join everyone at a Rally next weekend, May 3rd, Pacific Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt at 2 PM.

As you may know, Council members James, Yassky and DeBlasio have written requesting a hold on further public monies being spent and Council member DeBlasio has called for a moratorium on demolitions.

So, whatever you are doing on May 3rd, there's time to join the Rally. Make this one count. Our neighborhoods need you.

Upcoming Community Meetings

88th Precinct Council Meeting January 15, Tuesday, 7:30 pm St. Mary’s, 230 Classon Ave., enter on Willoughby Ave.

These meetings are an important opportunity for you to find out what is happening in the neighborhood re crime and to voice your concerns and raise questions. It would be helpful to have a good representation of neighbors there in preparation for our meeting later in the week.

Community Board 2, Public Hearing, Tuesday, January 15, 2008, 6:15 pm, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, first floor Board Room. The hearing will address the application by Pequena Restaurant to construct an enclosed sidewalk café with 7 tables and 16 seats at 86 South Portland Avenue. This hearing will give you an opportunity to see what restaurants have to do to have sidewalk cafes and will allow you to comment.

Community Board 2, Land Use Committee meeting Wednesday, January 16, 6 pm, Polytechnic University, Dibner Library, Room LC400, 5 Metro Tech Center, near Jay St./Borough Hall stop on C line.

Meeting is open, but non-committee members are observers only.

Fort Greene Association February Meeting Monday, February 25, 7:30 pm Lafayette Ave. Presbyterian Church, Lafayette at So. Oxford St.

Everyone is invited to come and hear about the week of events and celebrations honoring the 100th anniversary of the Martyr’s Monument in Fort Greene Park. The Fort Greene Park Conservancy (FGPC) is hosting a week of events in early fall which will refresh people’s memory of the critical history of the park and the monument, which David McCullough, author of 1776, has called one of our “most sacred historical sites.” FGPC will introduce a new musical work produced just for this event. There will be historical re-enactments, grand parties and a gala ball, the unveiling of the restored monument and other park improvements, and much, much more. Ruth Goldstein, event chairperson, will tell you about all that is planned and how you can get involved.

New Building on Park?! WTF?

what IS this?A few weeks ago, I came across a bizarre new building on Park by the BQE for sale by Corcoran. It looked to me like a building full of condo apartments, but the Corcoran listing I found said it was a legal 2-family listed at $979k.weird condos?

I procrastinated in posting this, and now the Corcoran link isn't working, and I can't find anything about it online!  What happened, and what IS this place?

DDDB Walkathon Info

From the Society for Clinton Hill: Dear Clinton Hillers:

The DDDB 2007 Walkathon is one week away - Oct. 14, Sunday. Won't you support the effort to protect Clinton Hill from massive over-development? The development of Atlantic Yards doesn't have to be so huge and so environmentally disastrous! Right now, the only thing standing between reasonable development and massive over-development there are the eminent domain and environmental lawsuits. It is a David and Goliath thing – we 26 community groups against Ratner and his political cronies.

The time is short to get our walkers together and to find sponsors for everyone. Tish James, our hero who has lead the community on this lengthy fight, is our team leader this year. We need to show our support for her, help DDDB help us, and show that Fort Greene and Clinton Hill will again this year be one of the top producing teams.

Please consider being a walker and asking family and friends to sponsor you. If that isn't your thing, check out our team, sponsor Tish or someone else by making a donation on their behalf. Or, you can contribute to the team in general. You can also set up your own team, if you are so motivated. Remember, all contributions are tax-deductible!

This is really important and it is a fun and exciting day as well. The walk is short and easy with entertainment on both ends. So, please, go to the web site below and sign up. WE NEED YOU! Our team is the Fort Greene – Clinton Hill Tish Team. Go to the site, see the list of teams on the right, scroll down to find our team, and join as a walker or be a sponsor of one of the walkers listed there. It is such a worthy cause …the scale and character of our neighborhood... our quality of life.

If you should have any problem making a credit card contribution, which is tax-deductible, you can:

1. Drop a check off to 138 Lafayette Ave. (corner of Carlton) and put in a note indicating you want it attributed to the Fort Greene – Clinton Hill Tish Team, or another team, and listing the walker you want to sponsor.

2. Mail a check to DDDB, 121 Fifth Ave., #150, Bklyn 11217 (include same note as above.)

3. Or, call Lucy at 718-938-3935 for help.

Make checks payable to DDDB-Legal Fund.

Walk with us…we need your help!

Society for Clinton Hill

Desolate Fort Greene Corner

The corner of Myrtle and Flatbush is such an incredible eyesore. I know it's WAY out of CH, but I notice it every time I come home late-night in a cab. Everything save for a check cashing place is shuttered and ready to fall apart. Wonder if the same person/company owns the whole block and is just waiting to raze it in favor of more condos.I know this is right near the projects, but it does seem odd that such a prime locale is sitting in decay.



Haunted Church Update

The Haunted Church (447 Clinton Ave) has been covered in a black shroud the last several weeks.  Now the plywood barricade facing Clinton holds an interesting announcement: dscf1812.jpg

According to a comment on Brownstoner way back from 2005, it sounds like "Clinton Rising, LLC" has owned the building since January '05.  If they're responsible for all that nasty trash sitting outside for the last 2.5 years, I'm worried.  Then another 'Stoner post says it was sold this past April.  Wait, now I can't find that post from 2005!  Am I hallucinating?  This is certainly one of the most confusing situations in the nabe.

I couldn't find any info about the project on the architect's site, and a Google search for Living Space Design on Ryerson yields nothing.

Wonder how this reno will turn out...

Development Meeting Tomorrow!

The Land Use Committee of the CB2 will be hearing two cases of great interest to the community: *  163-167 Washington Ave. (behind Kum Kau on Myrtle)

*    72-76 Grand Ave.

Both cases involve developers who are trying to make the case that even though they were not completely finished with foundations, as required by the DOB, they should be allowed to go ahead with plans to build structures that are not in keeping with the new R6B zoning. In other words, they are asking to be "grandfathered" under the old zoning laws.

In the Washington Ave. case in particular, the community has been especially active in monitoring and objecting to the many work violations, stop work orders, damage to adjoining buildings, etc.  We all believe that bad faith and repeated violations should not be rewarded.

Come to the hearing to testify or just to see what is going on.  These cases will then go to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), and CB2 will submit its recommendation.

DATE:       Wed., Sept. 19, 2007 TIME:         6 pm PLACE:      Polytechnic University 5 Metrotech Center, Room LC 400 Brooklyn

SCH Meeting: Thursday, Sept. 20

sch_9-20-07_meetingflyer.jpg A list of autumn events in FG/CH coming soon! This is the first meeting of the fall season, and I'm told the Society will focus more on issues of interest to younger residents going forward. If you haven't checked out a meeting, do so now (and please report back! I have a grad school reception that evening, so I can't make it!).

A special congrats to Steffon Isaac of the Polish Bar Brooklyn and the other new board members!