“Bullet Points” is our new format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.

Board votes against naming street after activist and vocal Community Board critic Mary Powell: Members of the Board voted overwhelmingly to reject a street co-naming proposal for Mary Powell, the longtime president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association who passed away in 2010. Members of Powell’s family and the civic requested the renaming to honor her legacy of a life dedicated to others. They have also set up a foundation in her name to encourage youths to be more involved in their community. During her tenure as president of the MMHC, Powell was an outspoken critic of Community Board 15, particularly on the issue of the politicized process of board appointments and the need for more transparency.

The board also voted to reject a street co-naming proposal for Joe Paterno, the Marine Park native whose tenure as coach of the Penn State football team won him entry to the Hall of Fame. Paterno passed away in January, shortly after retiring in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal surrounding his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

They rejected two other co-naming proposals – for Rabbi Samuel Fink, of Young Israel of Bedford Bay, and Daniel Sabatino, of Sabatino Funeral Home – ultimately approving none.

Elected officials (video above):

  • Assemblymember Helene Weinstein stopped in before heading to the Water Board hearing. She said she opposed the Board’s rate increase and is sponsoring two bills in Albany to help reform the Board. One bill would change the current appointment process – in which only the mayor appoints boardmembers – so that three members will be appointed from the mayor, and four from the City Council. The other bill would cap that water rates at no more than 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is higher. “People in our communities are struggling to get by,” she said. “To have these dramatic increases in water bills is just inappropriate.”
  • City Councilmember Lew Fidler touted his efforts to eliminate the Public Design Commission, a board of mayoral appointees who Fidler says delays public works projects and costs taxpayers millions of dollars while they play “taste police.” He also briefed the Board on the initiative to build a park at Brigham Street and Emmons Avenue, noting that the current push is to get the Department of Environmental Protection to spruce up an adjacent slip so that fishermen could more pleasantly angle off it. He added that Parks Department Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey has personally intervened in the matter of the long-delayed Marine Park field house to get the contractor back up and running no later than the third week of May. There are five to six months of work left on that project.

Zoning items:

  • 148 Norfolk Street: The Board voted to approve a special permit to enlarge a single family dwelling at 148 Norfolk, between Oriental Boulevard and Shore Boulevard. The owner is seeking to increase the floor area from 1,384.91 square feet to 2805.57 square feet, increasing the floor-area-ratio (FAR) to 0.90 (maximum allowed is 0.5). The attorney representing the client, Richard Lobel, said that the side yards would be staying “as is” and the construction would be building up on the premise.
  • 252 Exeter Street: The Board voted to approve a special permit to enlarge a single family dwelling at 252 Exeter Street. The owner is seeking to erect a second floor at the rear of the building two stories in height. Neighbors on Exeter Street objected, one saying that it would take away from the beautification of the block. Another neighbor said that the property had been abandoned for more than 10 years.
  • 168 Norfolk Street: The Board voted to approve a special permit to enlarge a single family dwelling at 168 Norfolk Street between Shore Boulevard and Oriental Boulevard. The owner is seeking to increase the floor area from 1,742 square feet to 2,957.5 square feet, increasing the FAR to 1.03.
  • 3960 Bedford Avenue: The Board voted to approve a special permit to enlarge a single family dwelling at 3960 Bedford Avenue between Avenue R and Avenue S. The owner is seeking to increase the floor area from 1,947.6 square feet to 2,828.53 square feet, increasing the FAR to .71.
  • 2670 East 12th Street: The Board voted to approve a special permit to enlarge a single family dwelling at 2670 East 12th Street between Shore Parkway and Gilmore Court. The owner is seeking to increase the floor area from 707 square feet to 1,920 square feet, increasing the FAR to 1.16. Neighbors from the dwelling directly next to 2670 East 12th Street were concerned if it would be constructing the five foot allowed space between the yards in between each property, but it would not be.
  • 2701-2711 Knapp Street & 3124-3146 Voorhies Avenue: The Board voted to approve a permit to remove the automotive service repair center and replace with an accessory convenience store, directly across the street from a 7Eleven which is open 24 hours.

Other Board actions:

  • The Board voted unanimously to not approve a beer and wine license for Pleasure Island lounge at 816 Avenue U, which will now be known as Galaxy. Neighbors expressed their concern for the rowdy crowds that take place outside of the establishment late at night, fearing that the owners would not live up to its proposal for an earlier curfew. A representative for Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz spoke out strongly against it, calling it “some of the worst” representing out community.
  • Chick Pallotta, on the Public Safety Committee and liaison to the NYPD’s 61st Precinct, talked about the increase in violence in the community, noting it has risen by 32 percent. The Board asked that the Deputy Inspector be invited to a Community Board 15 meeting to field questions. He said that would be feasible.
  • The Board voted unanimously to write a letter to the Department of Buildings regarding a canopy at a business on Avenue S and East 8th Street that is obstructing the quality of life due to lights kept illuminated  until late in the evening. One neighbor said that the Department of Buildings has issued violations for the canopy.
  • Debra Greif informed attendees about the upcoming 23rd Annual Brooklyn Family Support Fair. The event will take place on May 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Brooklyn College’s Student Union Building (Campus Road and East 27th Street). The event is organized by the Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Council.
  • The Board passed a motion to oppose a proposal creating a Community Advisory Review Panel. The panel would be comprised of one member from City Planning, one member from the local Community Board, and one member representing the City Council person. The trio would review recommendations made to the Board of Standards and Appeals by every Community Board regarding special permits and other zoning matters. Community Board 15 voted to oppose the creation of the panel, saying it would add “another layer of approvals” in the review of special applications – which already go through the Board to the BSA – without adding any benefit to the current system.

 If you like the Bullet Points format, or have suggestions for improvement, or see an item you’d like to know more about – let us know in the comments section!

Text by Margarita Lopez and Ned Berke. Video by Margarita Lopez.

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