Archive for the tag 'civic meetings'

Pineiro

Pineiro, third from right, poses with Chell, Valdez, Councilmember Deutsch and members of the 61st Precinct Community Council (Source: NYPD1DCPINEIRO/Twitter)

The 61st Precinct Community Council received a rare visit from First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, the second highest-ranking official of the NYPD, to acknowledge the transfer of Captain John Chell and welcome incoming commanding officer Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez to the post.

The meeting served as a ceremonial passing of the baton, with community members heaping praise on Chell who served as head of the command for 22 months and is now being transferred to the 79th Precinct, covering Bed-Stuy. But Pineiro also faced some heat from residents who questioned the long-standing NYPD policy of regularly reshuffling commanding officers around the city, as well as other concerns.

Pineiro’s trip to the command was unpublicized, and his arrival, with security in tow, raised eyebrows among those unsure of the purpose of the dignitary’s visit. But the second-in-command appeared to be present to speak to the service of his commanding officers.

“I want to express on behalf of the department our deep appreciation for the great job he did here, effectively addressing crime conditions and quality-of-life conditions while he was here,” Pineiro said. “He was instrumental in shephedring the community … though Superstorm Sandy, and he also hosted the 60th Precinct members” who were flooded from their stationhouse.

The deputy commissioner switched his attention to Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, who has taken the reins of the command. Valdez arrives from PSA 1, which patrols public housing developments within the 60th, 61st, 63rd and 69th Precincts.

“He did a great job [at PSA 1],” he said. “He was instrumental during those very dark days that we had where we lost police officer Dennis Guerra as a result of that fire that took place in that housing development. He conducted himself with a tremendous amount of professionalism and dignity and spent a great deal of time with the family. I want to commend him, he’s an extremely competent, confident guy.”

Pineiro, a Cuban immigrant who is the highest-ranking Hispanic-American on the force, also spoke of the department’s changing demographics and its reflection on the opportunities available in New York City. It is unclear if Valdez is the first Hispanic-American to lead the 61st Precinct.

“The evolution, the transformation of this agency is representative of what this city can offer. I was given an opportunity to come here, become a citizen, join the agency that I had no relation to … and I was able to go up through the ranks” and pursue education with help from the NYPD, he said.

Many neighbors at the meeting heaped praise on Chell for his time in the precinct. But Pineiro, who took questions after his remarks, was challenged on the department’s staffing policy. Commanding officers generally serve two-to-four years in one precinct before being switched to another area, and some in the audience believed it prevented them from learning and understanding the unique neighborhoods in which they work.

“Try to explain to me why, when things are working perfectly, somebody has to mess up the whole thing. No disrespect to the inspector who is about to take over, but Captain Chell was doing such a good job … and all of a sudden he’s moving on,” said Gerritsen Beach resident Bob Banham. “No disrespect, but it’s going to take [Valdez] over a year to turn around and point out what’s going on in the community.”

Pineiro urged residents to “have faith,” saying he believed in Valdez’ abilities.

He added that the shifting of personnel allows them to learn new techniques and develop broader expertise, which they bring to new commands as they move.

Chell seconded the confidence in Valdez during his outgoing statements.

“I sit here and get the props and thank yous, and I appreciate it, but the [officers of the 61st Precinct] are the ones who did it, and I get credit for it. And I thank you on their behalf,” he said. “Inspector Valdez is going to do well for two reasons. And it’s the only two things you really need in this job. You work hard, and your heart is in the right place.”

Valdez promised to work closely with the community to continue Chell’s work.

“I look very forward to being here. I’m very excited, and I’m very community oriented. I will try to address your issues and your problems that you present to me and my staff as much as possible,” he said.

Chell with CB15 Chair Theresa Scavo during the 2013 Night Out Against Crime.

The 61st Precinct Community Council Meeting will meet at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, July 9, at YDE School, 2533 Coney Island Avenue.

The meeting will be the last for Captain John Chell, who took command of the precinct in 2012. While still new in his post, he led the community’s police response during and after Superstorm Sandy and played host to Coney Island’s 60th Precinct for several months as they rebuilt their flooded stationhouse. Chell has been reassigned to Brooklyn North’s 79th Precinct, which patrols Bed-Stuy.

It will be the first meeting for the 61st Precinct’s new commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, who has served on the force for approximately a quarter-century. He’s already familiar with the area, having most recently served at PSA 1, which patrols public housing developments within the 60th, 61st, 63rd and 69th Precincts.

The Community Council is comprised of concerned residents and top brass from the 61st Precinct, and offers neighbors an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns about crime and safety issues in the area. The monthly meetings are attended by the commanding officer of the precinct, who will present a report on incidents and trends in the neighborhood, and speak face-to-face with neighbors about specific concerns.

For further information, or if you have questions or comments concerning Community Affairs, call (718) 627-6847.

loehmanns

Bullet Points” is our 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.

Loehmann’s expansion postponed: An expected vote on an application to expand Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) was tabled by Community Board 15 at their meeting this Tuesday to allow hearings and public input throughout the summer.

The Board was scheduled to vote on the proposal, which seeks to add an additional floor of office space totaling 10,000 square feet to the building. As the first item on the agenda, the Board’s Zoning Committee chairperson, Ronnie Tawil, made a motion to table the item until the group’s next meeting in September.

“Since this property is at the centerpiece of Sheepshead Bay and is of such high significance for the entire area, I’m of the mind that we should table this matter so that we can have more public hearings and more opportunities to discuss the ramifications of this particular application,” he said before the Board.

Normally, postponing such a hearing before the summer could open the door for an end-run around the Board. The group’s recommendation is advisory, and is requested to come within 60 days before the landlord’s appearance before the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), which has final say. If the Community Board tables a motion, it could forfeit its right to provide input.

However, the group’s chairperson Theresa Scavo said that won’t happen in this case. She met with the landlord’s attorney, Eric Palatnik, who frequently comes before the group on zoning matter and requested that he postpone the appearance before the BSA so that public hearings can be organized. He agreed, and has frozen the application, Scavo said.

“I’m asking him not to go ahead without us, he said he would not, and everything is put on hold. He’s giving it until September,” said Scavo.

Public hearings are expected to be scheduled in July or August by Councilman Deutsch’s office in conjunction with local groups like the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association. The item will be back for a vote before the Board in September.

As Sheepshead Bites first reported in March, the landlord is planning to add a new floor of commercial offices. Because it falls outside of the special zoning district‘s permitted uses, and the building is already subject to a variance, the BSA must review and approve the project.

Its initial construction was a lightning rod for community activists in the 1990s, when many locals mobilized to stop it from being built. It succeeded in going forward, and many credit the development as being the death of the special zoning district.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out [of business]. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” said Steve Barrison when he learned the news in March. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Zoning items:

  • 1112 Gilmore Court - The board voted 28-to-5 to approve an application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling. The landlord is seeking to upgrade a one-story bungalow into a two-family house, saying he needs more space for his family and needs the second unit to cover the costs of construction. The construction will not result in decreased side yards, as they plan to build back into the rear yard and to increase the front yard space.

Elected officials:

  • Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein briefed the Board on the end of the legislative session, specifically touting her record of domestic violence initiatives. She added that her bill on special education placements did not pass, but that was in fact good news since a deal had been negotiated with Mayor Bill de Blasio to initiate the changes at the Department of Education anyway.

Other notable information:

  • A motion by newly appointed boardmember Ed Jaworski, also the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, was rejected. The motion was to approve a resolution of “no confidence” in the Board of Standards and Appeals, which he said has been effectively upzoning neighborhoods on a lot-by-lot basis by rubber stamping special applications for variances that come before it. In the coming days, the BSA will lose its current chairperson to term limits, and Jaworski hoped to send a message that would result in an appointee he would consider more inclined to listen to local communities. The Board ultimately rejected the motion after choosing not to table it, with members saying that it would “disenfranchise the relationship we’ve built over time,” and that there were other ways to weigh in on the selection of a new BSA chairperson.
  • The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, through their partnership with the Family Justice Center, informed the area that they are establishing walk-in centers in every borough for domestic violence victims. The centers have free attorneys, social workers, children’s counselors and more on-site, and it’s open to all regardless of gender or immigration status. Community Board 15 is ranked 39th citywide in domestic violence calls, roughly in the middle of all communities.
  • The Department of City Planning announced the launch of the Southern Brooklyn Resilient Neighborhood Study, a two-year plan to examine the Sheepshead Bay area (specifically Plumb Beach and Gerritsen Beach) to identify strategies to strengthen the area from future storms. Some attendees complained that the new study doesn’t help with ongoing issues with Build it Back, FEMA or other agencies, and is yet another in a long line of studies and initiatives that they feel are not moving forward.
  • The Board welcomed the appointment of five new members, at least two of which were not in attendance, and at least one of which has never been seen at Board meetings previously. Board appointments are made by the borough president, often at the recommendation of local Council members.
  • Doreen Garson, representing the local CERT team, noted that the Office of Emergency Management has issued new evacuation maps and a related website.
  • A representative for Councilman Mark Treyger announced that his office would hold an unclaimed funds event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their 2014 Stillwell Avenue office on July 10. You will be able to search state databases for funds owed that you may have forgotten about or lost track of.
  • The Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach branches of the Brooklyn Public Library will participate in the Department of Education’s summer meals programming, offering kids free lunch during the day, beginning on June 27.
  • The July 4 holiday is a Friday. There will be no recycling picked up that day, but garbage may be put to the curb. Alternate side parking will be suspended.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs asked the Board for input on the installation of bumper cars at Land o’ Fun at 2955 Coney Island Avenue. The Board voted to recommend its approval.

Community Board 15 is meeting tomorrow, June 24, at 7:00 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulavard) in the faculty dining room. It will be the final meeting of the season, and will be preceded by a 6:00 p.m. collation, featuring light refreshments.

The following zoning item is on the agenda.

  • 1112 Gilmore Court – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.

Additionally, there will be a presentation by a representative from the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and a presentation by the City Planning Commission.

The board’s chairperson and district manager and various committee heads will deliver their monthly reports. There will also be time to hear residents’ concerns and discuss the reports, and elected officials may be in attendance.

This will be the last meeting before summer recess. Meetings will resume in September.

The Carmine Carro Community Center

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association’s final meeting for the season will be held this Thursday, June 19, 7:30 p.m., at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, Fillmore Avenue between Madison Place and Marine Parkway. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.

The election of officers and directors, reports from local elected officials and the police, plus refreshments, are all on the program. The announcement of “Mary Powell Awards” will also be presented to active students at Cunningham and Marine Park junior high schools.

The group’s next meeting will be October 16. For more information, call (718) 375-9158 or email coachedj@aol.com.

The following is from our friends at the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association:

sbpbcivic

The following is from the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association:

mbna

Public School 195 is located at 131 Irwin Street. For additional information, call (917) 747-5863.

Ocean Parkway (Source: AMRosario/Flickr)

Bullet Points” is our 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.

Sign-onara, DOT: The state Department of Transportation was sent back to the drawing boards by Community Board 15 last night after delivering a presentation on Ocean Parkway safety improvements that left boardmembers underwhelmed.

Representatives from the agency came before Community Board 15 to share a draft report for improving pedestrian safety along the high-speed corridor. Approximately a year in the making, the agency began working with their city counterparts after being criticized following the June 2013 death of a senior at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway, according to Streetsblog.

The first phase of the project moved quickly to address concerns, adding crosswalk timers, pedestrian islands and other improvements along the northern section. The state then turned its eyes to the south, extending through all of Community Board 15′s section.

But the proposals on display last night were largely a collection of potential ideas, without pegging which would be deployed where.

Boardmembers also shared concerns that the studies it is based on were examining the wrong things; main roads instead of the service roads, for example.

“Youre missing the points where the accidents occur. I think your evaluation sucks, to be honest with you,” said boardmember Ira Tepper. (Tepper later apologized to the DOT rep for his wording, but stood by his sentiment.)

Ultimately, boardmembers were left wanting more before signing off on the project.

“You’ve definitely got to refine your presentation” said Chairperson Theresa Scavo. “What I think is you should come back and tell us, on Avenue P what are you planning, on Kings Highway, Avenue V, every street that is in our district. Bring us what you plan to do on every intersection, and then we can tell you what we think.”

The criticism was received warmly by DOT rep Charles O’Shea, who said he’d do just that.

“We knew the plan was rough. We know there’s a lot more to do,” said O’Shea. “But the whole reason we’re here is to make Ocean Parkway safer. We’re not going to impose any solutions on the community.”

Zoning items:

  • 3743-3761 Nostrand Avenue - The Board agreed to approve an application to extend the term of the special permit on a gas station and mechanic, which has been operating with a waiver in one form or another since 1959. The vote was 26-to-2.
  • 148 Norfolk Street - In 2012, the Board approved an application to allow this homeowner to add extra square footage to their home. After Sandy rolled through and new regulations were put into effect by Department of Buildings, the agency told them to take their plans back to the drawing board, sealing off the basement and elevating the house four feet. The new application does just that, and takes the space they had hoped to use in the now-sealed-off cellar and moves it to the attic, meaning a larger house, but with the same amount of livable space as originally planned. The Board approved the application in a 28-to-1 vote.

Other information:

  • On unveiling the slate of executive boardmembers and officers, the nominating committee kicked off a small tizzy as several members with dismal attendance records have been nominated to reappointment in leadership positions. Activist Ed Jaworski and boardmember Joseph Dorinson spoke against their reappointments. Scavo, the chairperson, noted that the Board cannot control who is appointed to the Board, as that is done by the councilmembers and borough president. Dorinson maintained that it was still inappropriate to nominate them for leadership positions. “To do so is an insult to the intelligence of the community,” he said.
  • A representative from the Department of Consumer Affairs came to tout the Paid Sick Leave law which went into effect on April 1. The law requires employers of five or more employees to provide paid sick leave on an accrual basis. More information can be found here.
  • Sanna Ezri, director of the new Master Theater, formerly the Millenium Theater (1029 Brighton Beach Avenue), introduced herself to the Board and talked about the theater’s new offerings. There is also a new upscale restaurant in the building, and plans to open a Russian heritage museum.
  • A resident complained about Parks Enforcement Officers enforcing the law in Manhattan Beach over Memorial Day weekend, when they chased ice cream trucks out of the “No Standing” zone. “People in line were told to get away from the truck, myself included,” he said.
  • A representative for Councilman Chaim Deutsch invited the community to the pol’s “Participatory Governing” meeting tomorrow. Information is here.
  • Doreen Garson, for Senator Marty Golden, told the board that the annual Concerts in the Parks series will begin July 8. More information to come.
  • Garson also noted that the Office of Emergency Management has issued new evacuation maps and a related website.
  • A representative for Borough President Eric Adams said that notifications about Community Board appointments are “being mailed out as we speak.”
  • A representative for Councilman Mark Treyger’s office announced that their new district office at 2015 Stillwell Avenue is now open, and that the elected official will soon kick off the process for participatory budgeting.
  • There will be no Alternate Side Parking on June 4, in observance of Jewish holidays.
  • On June 1, Sheepshead Bay Road from East 15th Street to Emmons Avenue will be closed to traffic between noon and 5:00 p.m. for the Sheepshead Stroll, sponsored by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Community Board 15, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz’s office, Kings Bay Y, Empower Sheepshead and Sheepshead Bites, among others.

Community Board 15 is meeting tonight, May 27, at 7:00 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulavard) in the faculty dining room.

The following zoning items are on the agenda.

  • 3743-3761 Nostrand Avenue - Application to extend the term of the special permit on a gas station. No work to be done.
  • 148 Norfolk Street - Application for an amendment of previously approved plans due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. They’re looking to raise the home four feet to comply with proposed flood-related regulations.

The Department of Transportation will also be at the meeting to deliver a presentation on bike safety.

The board’s chairperson and district manager will deliver their monthly reports, as will chairpersons from the Board’s health, postal, public safety and transportation committees. There will also be time to hear residents’ concerns and discuss the reports, and elected officials may be in attendance.

Refreshments will be served.

The Carmine Carro Community Center

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association will be meeting this Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. inside Marine Park’s Carmine Carro Community Center, Fillmore Avenue between Madison Place and Marine Parkway.

On the agenda will be reports from Dr. Rhonda Farkas, superintendent, School District 22; Frank Filatro, Brooklyn South Park’s department administrator; Captain John Chell, commanding officer, 61st Police Precinct, and elected officials.

Light refreshments will be served. For additional information, contact Ed Jaworski via email at coachedj@aol.com or call (718) 375-9158 or (347) 661-6960 (cell).

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