Local Resident Uses Savvy & Social Media to Fight BBP Housing Plan

In response to newly revised plans for affordable housing in Brooklyn Bridge Park, one Brooklyn Heights resident is using her city government experience as well as social media to rally opposition for proposed development at BBP’s Pier 6.

Lori Schomp, who recently left city employment to pursue a masters degree in public health, is leading a grass roots effort to oppose recently announced plans for two tall residential towers in the park, a decision that she and others believe will negatively impact the character of an area prized for it’s open views and ample green space.

Thanks to her petition on Change.org that claims that “parks are for people and plants, not skyscrapers and shadows,” Ms. Schomp has become the reluctant leader of a coalition of concerned citizens who are not only fighting an uphill battle against BBP’s plans but also against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s grand plans to remake the city’s housing market.

“We know there’s a lot of history in the park’s development that’s been controversial,” Ms. Schomp said recently to the BHB, “With the changes to Pier 6 plans [after an agreement expired that would have restricted the heights of these two buildings] we thought it made sense for the community to reassess its options.”

As reported Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, at a public presentation last week to announce BBP’s proposed plan, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation president Regina Myer said: “We are very interested in having mixed income in the park and having a project more like what Brooklyn looks like in the park.”

In response to Ms. Myer’s suggestion that affordable housing will make the BBP better reflect our borough’s diverse profile, Ms. Schomp said “I think the people who visit the park look like Brooklyn already. Building a skyscraper there is going to allow a very small number of people [who live there] to enjoy the park while impacting the experience of hundreds of thousands of people who visit every year. I don’t know if that’s a good policy trade off.”

The BBP plan is but one example of Mayor de Blasio’s $41 billion housing plan for New York City, a proposal that the mayor hailed as “the most expansive and ambitious affordable housing agenda of its kind in the nation’s history.”

Ms. Schomp is decidedly not cowed by the scale of the challenge ahead. “There’s room for looking at different options here and thinking things through… At the end of the day it’s a public space in the public domain so I think [with] all of our advocacy and our grass roots efforts we should be heard.”

While any housing plan in the park has proven to be a tough sell among local residents, Ms. Schomp—a relative newcomer to this fight who has lived in the Heights for a year—is not opposed to development in BBP, only that it be distributed equally throughout the park.

“There are residences going up on the wealthy part of the park, in front of the Brooklyn Heights promenade, that are going to be five and ten stories,” she explained. “In One Brooklyn Bridge there’s a huge building and now we’re going to have two large residential buildings. It seems like an uneven bargain to have this much housing, this much height, which is not in scale with the southern part of the park.”

The anticipated reward for her Herculean labors? Ms. Schomp hopes to adopt a dog and enjoy walking it in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Photo: Massing study for possible residential tower at Pier 6

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect Lori Schomp’s employment record; this April Ms. Schomp left her job with the City of New York to pursue a degree in public health.

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  • Moses Kestenbaum ODA

    Miss shlompp is a bump only an idiot can make such claims, deblazio is another invalid that ny has ti recon with now

  • Daddyo

    Bummer that these buildings will block the view of the waterfront from the BQE. C’mon, BBP designed to be supported by real estate. Don’t you expect skyscrapers at LICH also — and around Barclay’s Center? Get on with it, build ’em higher!

  • Fred stern

    Housing should not be in public parks. If housing has to be there it should be contextual. Why make Brooklyn’s waterfront look like queens?

  • Sunday thoughts

    Just thinkin about this — Brooklyn Bridge Park is ***85 acres*** and Prospect Park is ***585 acres! *** isn’t every inch of BBP’s 85 acres precious?

    Pier 6 is the park’s entrance!

    Thought the lux condos in BBP were a “necessary evil” but recently Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has suggested that maybe they don’t need to maximize revenues from lux condos after all?

    IF De Blasio wants to build more density into our city, doesn’t that make public green space, even more important?

    I am sad for Daddyo; he sounds like he hates our neighborhood. BQE or no BQE, our neighborhood is special! and FYI, 30 stores is HIGH, one will be able to see it all the way up Atlantic Ave toward Barclays…

    Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

  • stuart

    The City is growing. More people are moving here. That is a good thing. People have to get over this medieval fear of newcomers spoiling their hunting lands. This is Brooklyn, a new building or two will mean more amenities, more interesting stores, more of everything. Bubonic Plague carriers are not going to be moving in and spoiling the land. If you want low density and quiet solitude, for heaven’s sake get the heck out of Brooklyn! Cash in now.

  • BrooklynCoffeeLover

    So true. I hate the amount of Nimby people on this blog/town.

  • David on Middagh

    “I don’t consider myself a New Yorker at all.” – BrooklynCoffeeLover, one month ago


  • BrooklynCoffeeLover

    Been here for almost 7 years, which hardly qualifies me as a New Yorker. I am not sure what you are trying to prove here Mr David On Middagh.

  • David on Middagh

    You’ve been in the neighborhood for three years, right? Well, if you’re in RE or construction or something else that benefits from crowding more people in, fine. You have your interests to look out for. But if not, I am not sure that you have earned your hatred.

  • blog commentators are weird

    Have you even been to the park? or this part of the park? It’s a PARK. That’s the point.

    It isn’t “Nimby” its NIMB (not-in-my-park!)

  • BrooklynCoffeeLover

    I have been to the park.

  • BrooklynCoffeeLover

    You seem to like to dig up info on me. I applaud you for that.

    You have no idea what my career is. And I am not hating at all. I agree with Stuart, that is all.

  • blog commentators are weird

    sorry its NIMP! I can’t spell this late…

    So, start you own “build baby build” petition — how much community support will you get? wolf in sheep’s clothing

  • David on Middagh

    Sorta couldn’t miss you on last month’s Shake Shack thread. I’m guessing… programmer.

  • judifrancis

    Exactly right – the city is growing and Brooklyn faster than any other borough (per last week’s Census data). Being the least parked borough in NYC, we need every inch of parkland. Discovering that the new buildings are not needed to “make the numbers” (for an inflated park maintenance budget in the first place), why build them at all? Let’s all be NIMPs and advocate for a park with the features long planned like a permanent pool, ice rink and indoor field house.

  • Socioqueen

    I used to live in the Peaks Mason Mints building when it was a Mitchell Lama rental before they sold the building and kicked us all out to make more luxury housing. If you live there, it’s haunted – just an FYI. This was also a time when Gristedes was Sloans and wasn’t so beyond inflated with its prices and DUMBO wasn’t filled with celebrities. Now I get to live in a nabe where a giant building blocks the views that I’ve slaved to live by and bring even more people to the area? Would it help if I told you we have no hospital so your best bet would be to get a boat slip with your new kitchen cabinets! So done with real estate developers.

  • Shaheen Rushd

    It is interesting that the luxury housing was a “necessary evil” but housing that has an affordable component to it, is something we cannot live it. I was against the luxury housing, but given that we allowed that, it is hard for me to join a movement against affordable housing. Of course, I am interested in finding out what percentage of the proposed towers will be devoted to affordable housing. Also, I am not buying that the height of the towers are warranted.

    Why don’t we start a movement where a certain part of the luxury housing that is already under construction is devoted to affordable housing?

  • Less condos=more park 4 every1

    Because if we try to accomplish — too many policy goals in one small place (Brooklyn Bridge Park is 85 acres) we will end up with something that achieves none of our objectives.

    If we are going to build more housing everywhere in the city, and make the city more dense, people will all the more, need green spaces to go to — for peace and relaxation.

    Affordable housing will not help pay for the park. If the park doesn’t need the money from the lux condo housing, then there should be LESS housing in the park, and MORE PARK for everyone to enjoy!

  • HicksOnHicks

    BBP is a wonderful amenity for the neighborhood, Brooklyn and NYC. In order to avoid reliance on unreliable city park maintenance funds, BBP has real estate holding dedicated to funding Park Maintenance. Thus residents at 1 BBP (360 Furman) pay “Payments in lieu of taxes” or PILOTs to fund the park’s maintenance. I thought this was a sound idea and I disagreed with many of my neighbors.

    Now here comes DeBlasio with a “bait & switch”. He’s claiming that we can have a park and affordable housing. The only way this is achievable is to build ever taller buildings destroying the park and neighborhood’s ambiance.

    If he’s truly focused on helping the poor & middle class live better, he’d be better off selling the property and using the proceeds to build affordable housing in a different neighborhood where land costs are considerably lower.

    All DeBlasio has done is to further convince me to never trust politicians or Regina Meyer. How can she say that the park would be better with residential towers? How can someone with that point of view be allowed to run a “park”?

  • ujh

    If Ms. Schomp has lived in Brooklyn Heights for only a year or so, I wonder whether she’s spent that time to pour over mountains of records to find out what it’s taken to get the BBP built and how the millions must be raised that are needed to maintain and operate it year after year. I think she ought to concentrate on getting her degree in public health instead of wasting her precious time to fight a Sisyphean battle.

  • RS

    Good luck to anyone trying to stop the residential development in BBP.Politicians sold out our neighborhoods on a high rise at Dock Street Dumbo and the hotel and housing at Pier 1 to ruin views and the park, and they will do the same for high rises at Pier 6. As BBP supports all of this, with all of the accompanying noise in the park, I no longer support BBP.

  • ujh

    Furthermore, those of you who continue to attack Regina Myer should be ashamed; Regina doesn’t make the decisions, she has to carry them out at the behest of the mayor via the EDC, of which the BBP corporation is a subsidiary. All you critics and know-it-alls seem to forget that the continued upkeep of the pier structures will swallow about one half of the yearly maintenance budget. All of this was laid out years ago, and these costs have not decreased.

  • TMS

    I agree with you.

  • bethman14

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more. Brooklyn Bridge Park is an amenity for the entire city, really the entire tri-state area…its not a private preserve for people from Brooklyn Heights who don’t want to rub shoulder with the little people.
    The City desperatly needs both afforable housing and new parks….seems like a no-brainer to build housing here that could help support the park. If its taller and denser, so be it. This is NEW YORK FREAKIN CITY!!! Want unblemished bucolic views? Than move to your country house in Dutchess County already.
    NIMBYism at its worst. I’d love to hear what Ms. Schomp has to say when he rent goes up or her kids can’t afford a place to live in NYC…

  • bethman14

    HUH? So you got yours, now be dammed with anyone else? Thats a nice attitude.

  • Rvideo

    When are they building housing in Central Park or Hudson River Park so I can move in there? They are so much bigger they must need so much more money.

  • Rvideo

    So when can I move into an apartment in the middle of Central Park or Hudson River Park? They are so much larger, the maintenance must be astronomical. How can they afford it without high-rises in them?

  • Daddyo

    Or hurry up and Landmark every empty lot, parking lot, alleyway and pier so nothing can be built. BBP would still be on the drawing board without the real estate revenue plan. Build those suckers now!

  • Daddyo

    Different financial structure, different costs. And you can live all around these parks if you like and can afford it. In skyscrapers — which block the view of your neighbors and cast shadows over the respective parks (oh, no….!)…

  • Quinn Raymond

    “There are residences going up on the wealthy part of the park… that are going to be five and ten stories… It seems like an uneven bargain to have this much housing, this much height, which is not in scale with the southern part of the park.”

    I’m sorry, but the implication that there is a non-wealthy part of the park is comical.

    And this opposition is NIMBYism of the worst kind. I am quite saddened by the racism, classism, fear and selfishness that has reared up in some other forums on this topic.