Archive for the tag 'community board 11'

Members of a City Council committee are pushing a resolution introduced last week that calls for the city’s 59 community boards to adopt sweeping reforms, including term limits.

The council’s Committee on Governmental Operations met on March 3, drawing up the list of recommendations to improve the recruitment and function of the boards.

The local boards, each made up of 50 unpaid, volunteer members, have long drawn criticism for their appointment processes, which many say are politically motivated. Boardmembers are appointed by the borough president at the recommendation of local councilmembers, leading some to criticize their independence.

According to the Daily Eagle, the recommendations include:

  • Term limits of five consecutive two-year terms for board members.
  • Online application and technology infrastructure.
  • Conflict of interest disclosure by all applicants.
  • Requiring reappointment applications with evaluation of attendance, service and participation.
  • Ban on political appointments; specifically staffers of elected officials and executive board members of a political party.
  • Filling vacancies within 30 days.
  • Improved outreach and recruitment focusing on diversity, geography and experts.
  • Youth representation by 16- and 17-year olds as public members of youth committees and as full board members.

While the existence of the community boards are mandated by the City Charter, each board maintains its own bylaws dictating how they function. Some boards, such as Community Board 13, representing Coney Island and Brighton Beach, have term limits for its officers, while others, like Community Board 15, representing Sheepshead Bay, do not.

In Sheepshead Bay, community board recruitment and membership became an issue during the recent City Council race. At a September debate, the Democratic candidates discussed the local board’s diversity as well as term limits and the ways to depoliticize the appointment process.

Chaim Deutsch, who went on to win the election, said he hoped to strengthen and diversify the board, but didn’t offer details. He did note that he was opposed to term limits for board members.

“If you have board members that are there and following the processes and going to meetings and following up, and where you have various issues like zoning issues and they actually go down and look at the homes they’re having a hearing on – that person should stay,” Deutsch said at the time.

“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.

Neighbors Demand Board Rescind Support For Drug Counseling Center: Residents of East 17th Street near Kings Highway rallied at last night’s Community Board 15 meeting, demanding the Board rescind a letter of support for a proposed drug treatment facility at 1670 East 17th Street.

Led by Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association President Ed Jaworski, a group of residents took to the podium, claiming that the Board failed to inform the community that the issue would be discussed and voted on in December.

“The City Charter and the Community Board bylaws say that the Community Board should serve the community, should communicate within the community, should act as a liaison agency, should review services, should develop plans for the community. None of this was done regarding the drug center being located on East 17th Street,” Jaworski said. “What took place at the November meeting was a shortcut. It was cutting the community’s input.”

The center, One World Counseling, received a letter of support from Community Board 15 in November with a 31-4 vote. Dmitri Oster, a rep for One World, told the Board then that they intended to target immigrants in the Sheepshead Bay area who have turned to drugs to cope with cultural integration. They would offer only counseling and would not distribute medication.

Keep reading about this story, and summaries of other actions from last night’s Community Board 15 meeting.

Community Board 15 voted in favor of permitting one drug rehabilitation center in the neighborhood, but voted down another, saying that the owners’ attitudes made all the difference.

At the November 27 meeting, the Board gave the nod to One World Counseling, a newly-formed entity proposing to develop a drug and alcohol abuse treatment center at 1670 East 17th Street, just off Kings Highway. The Board’s 31-4 vote came just minutes after nixing plans of an existing center, First Steps to Recovery at 2990 Brighton 12th Street, to move to 2634 East 21st Street, with a no vote of 34-1.

During the hearing for First Steps, representatives for the outpatient addiction treatment clinic explained that they served “elderly” Eastern European patients who have turned to drugs or alcohol to cope with the struggles of integration. The clinic dispenses medications and has been operating in Brighton Beach since 2002. They were seeking to move to the 2634 East 21st Street location because their current space is too small.

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1752 Shore Parkway, the future home of BJ's (Source: PropertyShark.com)

Our sister site Bensonhurst Bean has updated its story on Brooklyn Bay Center, a planned Thor Equities development at 1752 Shore Parkway that will have BJ’s as its primary tenant.

The development has received approval from the City Council, following positive recommendations from Community Board 11 and the Brooklyn Borough President. Though the project may be moving forward, there remain some lingering complications that Bensonhurst Bean was first to report on,  including concerns about increased automobile traffic, as well as a decrease in foot traffic in the area’s main streets.

But the approval is still welcome news for local leaders, who continue to tout the 250 unionized construction jobs the development will bring, in addition to the retail positions once it opens – not to mention the renovation of a currently dilapidated waterfront space, opening it up to the public.

To meet concerns about the traffic, Bensonhurst Bean reports, Assemblyman Peter Abbate is trying to nab state funding for traffic mitigation. Possible measures include relocating the Belt Parkway’s Bay Parkway exit east of its current location.

No word yet on Markowitz’s demand that Thor include a “destination restaurant” as a tenant on the property. We’re betting there won’t be one.

Proposed site of Brooklyn Bay Center, featuring BJ's Wholesale Club

Borough President Marty Markowitz gave the green-light to Thor Equities’ plans to build a shopping center near Ceasar’s Bay that would include a BJ’s Wholesale Club, but not without some caveats – the famously food-friendly beep is demanding a classy waterfront restaurant be among the complex’s four tenants. But with a notably toothless approval/recommendation process, we’re not holding our breath.

Find out what Markowitz wants, and why we don’t think it’ll ever happen.

The future site of Bensonhurst's BJ's Wholesale Club? Maybe. (Source: PropertyShark.com)

Our little sister site has nabbed its first scoop! Bensonhurst Bean is reporting that Thor Equities – the developer behind much of Coney Island’s interim destruction – is a stone’s throw away from receiving the green light to build a BJ’s Wholesale Club along the Bensonhurst-Bath Beach waterfront.

Thor’s plan calls for a two-story 214,000-square-foot retail space near Caesar’s Bay Shopping Center. The four-unit commercial project, to occupy 1752 Shore Parkway (at Bay 38th Street), is being called Brooklyn Bay Center, and will house a BJ’s Wholesale Club, with three remaining retail units, including, they hope, a restaurant, on the second floor.

The plan went by Community Board 11 with nary a whisper in opposition, save for a long-time small business advocate who wants establishments like this to be built inside existing commercial corriders, driving foot traffic to area merchants.

The community is also asking for a few commitments from the developer, like the construction of a park, public access to the waterfront and even an Eco Dock.

The project goes before the Borough President tonight, at 5 p.m. in Borough Hall. His recommendations will be passed on to the Department of City Planning.

Oh, and the cherry on top for taxpayers? Assemblyman Peter Abbate is looking to secure state funds to relocate the eastbound Belt Parkway entrance further east to keep it clear of the development site.

Check out Bensonhurst Bean for the full story and to weigh in on the proposal.