CB2 Didn’t Vote on Dock Street DUMBO Project

Two Trees Rendering

Community Board 2 held a public hearing last night regarding the Dock Street DUMBO Project which promises affordable housing a middle school to be constructed near the Brooklyn Bridge.

Update: This dispatch just in from CB2:

Please be advised that the Youth, Education and Cultural Affairs Committee meeting – originally planned to follow the community board’s public hearing last night on the “Dock Street DUMBO” mixed-use development project – has been re-scheduled for 6:00 p.m. tonight, Thursday, December 18, 2008, in Room 119 of the Health Sciences Center of Long Island University, DeKalb and Hudson avenues.
The Land Use Committee meeting also planned to follow the public hearing has not yet been re-scheduled.

BHB commenter “Observer/Participant” was there and comments:

The hired guns were all on display, from the laser pointing architect (who did her best to show the building from the middle of the East River, and hiding the obvious obstructions to the bridge, to the rent-a-lobbyist/lawyer, to all the people that the Walentas family has tossed scraps to over the years (e.g. merchants getting sweetheart commercial rent to make real estate values increase in DUMBO, to clergy). The bureaucrat representing the City DOE was remarkably vague with figures, plans, specifics when pressed. Only that they are for “it”–whatever “it” eventually turns out to be.

The Brooklyn Paper reports that the meeting was “crowded”. There were so many people there to voice their opinions, the paper says, that the Board didn’t have time to vote on the project.  The paper reports that 38 people spoke for the proposal while 49 were opposed.

CB2’s Robert Perris tells BHB that number reflects those “who signed in and indicated a position”.  He added that he did not count the number of people who spoke.   The date and time of the postponed Land Use and Youth, Education and Cultural Affairs committee meetings has not been decided says Perris.

Brooklyn Paper: Vote Is…: “This project is not about our need for a middle school — that is the distraction,” said City Council candidate Ken Diamondstone, who opposes the project. “It is about a wealthy developer who wants to ignore and compromise our valuable icon.”

But supporters argued that the area desperately needs a middle school, affordable housing, and noted that Walentas could build a much taller hotel — without needing public approval — in the same spot.

“This is not Atlantic Yards,” said Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Fort Greene). “This is a project that I believe will go a long way in Downtown Brooklyn, and will preserve its nature.”

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  • Reality Dept.

    Homer: Rather than displaying the Two Trees renderings, which show the project from the best possible vantage point in the middle of the East River from the point of view of a seagull, how about using some of the renderings which truly indicate how badly the Dock Street Building will diminsh the Brooklyn Bridge from where the vast majority of people experience it–from Brooklyn or Manhattan, at street level, or from the bridge walkway or roadway.

    These renderings can be found here: http://www.savethebrooklynbridge.org/renderings.asp

    This is one of the things that I found highly misrepresentative at the CB meeting last night. The architect and all the other Two Trees hired guns showed basically two photos, one a top down Google Earth photo that showed rooftops, and the other was the classic view from the middle of the East River in between the bridges (the seagull view). Both are very misleading and don’t indicate how 99% of us will experience the Brooklyn Bridge if the project gets built as currently proposed.

    Enough Two Trees obfuscation and sugar coating! Show the real impact and let people make up their minds.

  • Nancy

    I understand the Land Use committee will reconvene at the “los Palmy Dias” resort in Can Cun courtesy of Two Trees.

  • my2cents

    I am shocked that they are still trying to build this in this economy. What is to guarantee us that there won’t be an open pit there for years once they tear down the existing buildings? Who is financing this? Two Trees alone? They have that much cash on hand?? Otherwise, what bank is willing to back this thing?

  • T.K. Small

    I had wanted to attend this hearing but had a previously scheduled obligation. In hindsight, I should have skipped my scheduled meeting.

    For the better part of a year I have been raising the idea that people need to be more involved with Community Board 2 activities. Since April I have attended every monthly meeting of the entire board and a couple of extra hearings along the way. To what extent did the BHB community show up?

  • Publius

    T.K.: I recognized quite a few faces at the CB meeting and based on the speakers, who often identified their affiliations or where they live, I think it was a wide geographic group from BH, Fulton Ferry, Dumbo and Vinegar Hill.

    It was great to see such a large turnout for such an important issue.

  • Publius

    The CB Land Use Committee rejected Walentas:

    7-6 vote.


  • No One Of Consequence

    This is a win. Whether everyone recognizes that or not is debatable.
    Next greatest fear for this location? That this pisses Walentas off and they opt for a commercial building of similar height which would not require a zoning change.
    What is the status of DUMBO being landmarked and how might that affect such future development? Anyone know?

  • epc

    When DUMBO was landmarked last year, this plot as well as other empty plots of land were excluded from the landmarking district (the argument being that “Landmarking”/LPC only looks at existing buildings).

    The DUMBO map is here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/maps/DUMBO_map.pdf

    The district excludes any empty plots of land (as of 2007) as well as several “new” buildings (mostly since mid-1990s) and apparently any plots of land owned by the Watchtower Society.

  • No One Of Consequence

    Is that why they knocked down the Nova Clutch building in such a hurry?