Archive for the tag 'community board 15'

Using emergency provisions, the New York City Department of Homeless Services has moved nearly 20 families into the Lyghthouse Inn, an alleged pay-by-hour hotel formerly known as the Windjammer Motel.

Neighbors sounded the alarm over the shelter at the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Meeting October 7, alongside elected officials who criticized the agency for poor communication with the community.

The agency confirmed that the family-oriented shelter opened in early October, and 17 families with children are already moved in. It was carved out of the motel’s 3206 Emmons Avenue property, with a separate entrance through an unmarked door, and there are plans to house as many as 69 families at the location.

“Sheltering New York’s families with children is a collective responsibility to be shoulder by all. We hope that the community is compassionate and supportive as these families work toward rebuilding their lives,” an agency spokesperson said.

Neighbors at the meeting did indeed express compassion for the families, many of which are single mothers or victims of domestic violence. But they were critical of the agency’s lack of communication, and shared concerns about the families’ well-being alongside the hotel’s clients, as well as its proximity to another family shelter just one block away.

“You cannot attack the homeless, the people who are living in there because you’re an elitist or you think you’re hot stuff. That’s wrong. And after what we went through with Sandy, there’s no way in hell you can turn around and say ‘Make them homeless’ when half your neighbors were homeless,” said neighbor Barbara Berardelli.

The group did express concerns about the communication.

“All of a sudden on Thursday evening [October 2], about 5:30, 6 o’clock, big vans pulled up and they started dumping out vans and mattresses and cribs. The next day people were notified, about 4 o’clock, on Yom Kippur, when most offices were closed already, that the shelter was opening,” said civic president Kathy Flynn.

The agency said that elected officials and Community Board 15 were notified of the shelter’s opening as early as mid-September, about two weeks before work began.

But Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the group that it was only being discussed as a possibility, not a certainty.

“They told me nothing was set in stone [during a conference call with the department],” said Deutsch. “The next thing I know, I get a phone call saying, ‘We’re moving furniture in.’”

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein recounted much the same.

Establishing a homeless center is often a process spanning many months, including community feedback and Community Board review. However, the pols explained that the agency used an “Emergency Declaration” to expedite the process – which the agency confirmed it uses during times of “dire capacity needs.” That allows them to temporarily take over the space and do community approval later. The agency will still need to seek approval over the next six months or so, the pols said.

Both Weinstein and Deutsch said they look forward to learning more about the agency’s long-term plans.

Until then, they both remarked on the shelter’s less-than-stellar landlords.

“[When I heard about it,] first I went to the Lyghthouse around the corner. I had to wait in line because people were asking for rooms for two hours, three hours, four hours. So I had to wait in line just like everyone else,” said Deutsch.

“There’s safety issues, there’s security issues, there’s, I guess I’ll put in quotes, ‘patrons’ of the hotel,” said Weinstein. “There are issues that need to be addressed.”

In regards to safety, the agency noted that there will be 24/7 security, though declined to elaborate.

Both pols are looking forward to additional meetings with the agency to address those issues, including potential overcrowding concerns at the nearby elementary school, PS 52.

Still, they admitted there’s little they can do in the short term, especially as the city is in the midst of a homeless housing crisis.

“I believe there’s 57,000 individuals that are homeless. Eleven thousand families that need shelter. That’s a lot of people in New York City, so I accept that we have a responsibility to have a fair share in our community,” said Weinstein.

Community Board 15 is meeting tomorrow, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulavard) in the faculty dining room. It’s the first general meeting of the season.

The Board was slated to have a full vote on the proposed 10,000 square foot expansion of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza, but it has been postponed for further review. Because there’s a full agenda of nine other local projects, the Board held a special meeting last week for the zoning committee to hold public hearings. A final vote on those projects from the full Board will come tonight.

The nine projects are:

  • 1601 Gravesend Neck Road – An application to legalize an existing physical culture establishment. This project, for FG Fitness Gallery, was previously denied by the Board after owners failed to send representation in June 2013. The Board at that time also voted to refuse to consider the matter again in the future.
  • 2442 East 14th Street – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 2137 East 12th Street - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 4167 Ocean Avenue - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 325 Avenue Y – An application for a special permit to allow a school within a M1-1 Zoning District
  • 1937 East 14th Street - An application for a special permit to allow the conversion of a two family dwelling into a single family dwelling.
  • 1981 East 9th Street - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 1977 Homecrest Avenue - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 2268 West 1st Street – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement and conversion of an existing two family residence to a single family residence.

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.

conaming

Elected officials, the NYPD, family and friends attended to honor the late Community Board chair.

Family, friends and community leaders gathered Wednesday to honor John E. Nikas, a longtime chairperson of Community Board 15 and former assistant to Governor Mario Cuomo.

The intersection of East 12th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road, behind the 61st Precinct, received a new sign reading John E. Nikas Way in recognition of his community activism on what would have been his 81st birthday.

In addition to his work on the Community Board and for the governor, Nikas, who passed away in 2011 at age 78, was remembered as a tireless community advocate who sought to help the less fortunate.

Daily News writes:

He served three decades on the board of New York Community Hospital and co-founded a charity called Youth DARES, which helps at-risk kids and now annually serves more than 400 youngsters.

“He wanted to make a difference for his children and grandchildren and for the community we live in,” said his wife, Rose Nikas.

UPDATE (September 24 @ 10am): Councilman Chaim Deutsch emailed us the the following comment:

“It was an honor and a pleasure to host the co-naming of John E. Nikas Way. John was a paragon of integrity and compassion, a true role model for all. John was a doer and a community activist whose dedication to his family and his neighborhood knew no bounds. I am proud to have been able to memorialize him with this street co-naming.”

loehmanns

A special public hearing originally slated for tonight on the proposed expansion of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza, whose owners seek to add a new floor of office space, has been postponed to allow further scrutiny of the plans. However, the zoning committee of Community Board 15 is still moving forward with a special meeting to consider nine other projects in the community.

The meeting will kick off at 6pm in the faculty dining room (U112) of Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard).

The plans for Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue), as first reported by Sheepshead Bites, call for an additional 10,000 square feet of commercial offices on an entirely new floor of the building. The owner said he needs the additional revenue it would create to offset losses from Superstorm Sandy.

Already built far outside of zoning allowances, the building’s developer needs to obtain approval from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, which asks for a recommendation from the Community Board before deciding for itself.

A hearing was added at the last minute to Community Board 15′s agenda for its final meeting before summer recess. With cooperation from the developer, the Board voted to table the matter so it could gather more public input.

With many boardmembers and local community group leaders on vacation, the Board struggled to coordinate an on-site visit with stakeholders.

“[Councilman Chaim Deutsch] and the Community Board want to have the opportunity to really examine this. Over the summer, it was difficult to get the zoning people together and set up meetings,” explained CB15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo. “We want to get all the community groups together and on-site before any decisions are made … and determine any possible downside.”

The developer agreed to postpone his plans again.

Still, the Board is moving forward with a long list of hearings on other projects tonight to make next week’s regularly scheduled meeting more manageable.

Tonight’s agenda will review the following projects:

  • 1601 Gravesend Neck Road – An application to legalize an existing physical culture establishment. This project, for FG Fitness Gallery, was previously denied by the Board after owners failed to send representation in June 2013. The Board at that time also voted to refuse to consider the matter again in the future.
  • 2442 East 14th Street – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 2137 East 12th Street - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 4167 Ocean Avenue - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 325 Avenue Y – An application for a special permit to allow a school within a M1-1 Zoning District
  • 1937 East 14th Street - An application for a special permit to allow the conversion of a two family dwelling into a single family dwelling.
  • 1981 East 9th Street - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 1977 Homecrest Avenue - An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
  • 2268 West 1st Street – An application for a special permit to allow the enlargement and conversion of an existing two family residence to a single family residence.

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.

With kidnapped yeshiva teenage boys Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah missing in captivity for 11 days, the Be Proud Foundation and Community Board 15 are teaming up to host a rally, June 26, 7:00 p.m. at Holocaust Memorial Park, to let the voices of southern Brooklynites be heard.

The boys, one of whom has strong Brooklyn roots, were kidnapped by the terrorist group Hamas while hitchhiking home from their religious school in the West Bank.

Event organizers invite the community to come out and hang yellow ribbons in solidarity with the boys, their families and the State of Israel, currently searching for them.

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.

polly

Deutsch with Trottenberg, Palmieri and other DOT representatives on Coney Island Avenue.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stood at the base of the Coney Island Avenue overpass at Guider Avenue last Tuesday, as cars whizzed around her, made illegal turns, crossed into oncoming traffic and failed to get out of the way of emergency response vehicles. She stood there for approximately 20 minutes, visibly perplexed at the apparent lawlessness of one of Southern Brooklyn’s most convoluted intersections.

Trottenberg was there at the request of Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, alongside Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri and a handful of aides for each. She had already toured other problem spots in Manhattan Beach and said the agency would consider changes requested by the community, but the scene at this intersection – where Coney Island Avenue meets Guider Avenue, Banner Avenue, a service road and a Belt Parkway entrance ramp – prompted a more firm commitment.

“This one certainly,” said Trottenberg. “We have to do some major work here. It’s terrible.”

Within days, the commissioner had ordered a traffic study of the intersection, and Deutsch’s office confirmed that traffic engineers will visit the site to assess new traffic safety measures, including turn signals and medians.

Until more permanent changes are implemented, Deutsch worked with the agency and the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau and he 60th Precinct to bring traffic agents to the intersection. The agents deployed for the first time today, and will be there during peak hours, Deutsch told Sheepshead Bites this morning.

Traffic agents were at the intersection today. (Source: Deutsch's office)

Traffic agents were at the intersection today. (Source: Deutsch’s office)

The councilman and the DOT hope the measures will go a long way to reducing traffic accidents at the location. Since 2014 began, there have been 11 collisions so far, including two pedestrians struck by vehicles and three occupant injuries, according to data obtained from the DOT by Deutsch’s office.

It’s not the first time local officials have raised issue with the intersection, or the DOT’s first stab at fixing it.

Community Board 15 has been a long-time advocate for improvements to the area, and was baffled in 2009 when the agency proposed a plan to reconfigure it that illustrated an utter lack of familiarity with the area.

A year later, then-Congressman Anthony Weiner also took the agency to task for the same plan. Both requested left-turn signals to restore order, but received a cold response from the former commissioner.

In the end of May 2012, the agency surprised locals by installing “No left turn” signs on southbound Coney Island Avenue. We stood there days later, and filmed car after car dangerously ignoring it in the span of just one minute.

As for the other sites that Trottenberg toured during her visit last week, the agency is studying some of the proposals, including turning Oriental Boulevard’s flashing yellow light at Ocean Avenue into a full-fledged traffic signal. Deutsch said he will work with the Parks Department to determine the feasibility of moving the Oriental Boulevard bike lane to the sidewalk on Shore Boulevard. A traffic study is also being ordered for Coney Island Avenue and Avenue O.

“I think it’s great that they came down here,” said Deutsch. “We had all three commissioners here to collaborate, and this is just the beginning.”

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.

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