UPDATE (5/23/2013 @ 11:15 a.m.): Sorry beach goers, the new Coney Island and Brighton Beach modular comfort stations won’t be finished by Memorial Day. According to a report by the New York Daily News, the new stations won’t be ready for this weekend and temporary toilets will be put in place instead.
The futuristic Coney Island and Brighton Beach bathrooms are almost in place as workers from the New York City Parks Department finish their work this week.
The new stations, which cost $1.5 million each, have brought anger from residents of the Oceana luxury condominiums (50 Oceana Drive West) who are upset that the new bathrooms disrupt their ocean view.
Despite their protests, Parks Department officials insist that the bathrooms are necessary to handle the huge crowds of people who visit the beaches of Coney Island every year.
Anywho, does that ramp on the left, leading to that RV-in-the-sky, look a little steep? We’ll have to get over there and see what these things are like first-hand.
Bad news for bicyclists. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has changed its plans regarding the bike path that runs along Plumb Beach. In a press release, the Army Corps of Engineers has announced that a section of the bike path will be closed until construction is complete – which won’t be before December.
Last March, we reported that the Army Corps of Engineers was planning on creating a detour for the bike path, but upon further review, it appears that the Engineers are reneging on their promise to keep it open. Dan Falt, the Army Corps project manager for the Plumb Beach project explained why change of heart:
“We had originally hoped that we would be able to maintain a detour for bicyclists and pedestrians while carrying out this critical coastal storm risk reduction work, but it’s becoming clear that in order to ensure public safety around the active construction site we’re going to have to close the bike lane completely. We’re doing this work in an extremely tight space, surrounded by water and the busy Belt Parkway and we need to make sure that the contractor has the space to operate while also ensuring public safety by keeping bicyclists and pedestrians away from the construction activities,” Falt said in the release.
Bicyclists riding along the bike path will have to get off the path at Flatbush Avenue if they are traveling west or Knapp Street if traveling east to prevent riding into the closed section.
The $460,000 project, funded by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, will continue throughout the spring. On the checklist for beautification are:
covered trash bins
new trees, with granite block pavement in enlarged tree pits
new curb cuts
fresh paint on the Bay’s railing
blue concrete and matching artistic design elements previously installed near the piers, from Ocean Avenue to East 27th Street
1964 World’s Fair-style benches
When construction is finished, the Emmons Avenue street-scape will have seen a complete overhaul over the last decade. Repairs began in 2003, when the city installed new antique-style lights along Emmons Avenue and Shore Boulevard. In 2006, the city completed a similar renovation to the current one, from Ocean Avenue to East 27th Street, adding new benches, sidewalk designs, tree pits and more.
Cymbrowitz, in a press release, said that the improvements will help the community continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy.
“Beautifying Emmons Avenue is part of the larger mechanism of long-term recovery,” Cymbrowitz said. “Trees represent new life. They’re meant to last, and so is Sheepshead Bay.”
BYLAWS REVISED: After taking heat from a group of neighbors upset about a drug treatment facility proposed for Kings Highway, Community Board 15 voted to revise a section of their bylaws that would require more intense community outreach in the run-up to a hearing for similar facilities in the future.
Construction crews were on Emmons Avenue and Nostrand Avenue today, beginning the installation process of sidewalk bulbs – or bulges that stick out into the parking lane – and payment machines. The work is being done to prepare the B44 route for Select Bus Service (SBS), which features off-board fare collection at nearby payment machines, and dedicated bus lanes on certain parts of the strip.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to kick off the second phase of construction on Plumb Beach in April, but say they’ll have to close the parking lot and detour the damaged bike path until the end of the year.
Built for expansion: This owner of this Beaumont Street home violated the terms of their special application, so they tore down their home and rebuilt this structure so they could apply again. (Source: CB15)
“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.
Enlargement denied: Community Board 15 said a Manhattan Beach homeowner’s request to expand his home would set a bad precedent after learning that the homeowner previously dodged zoning laws, got caught, tore down his home and rebuilt it – all to try for the permit for a second time.
Owners of the home at 282 Beaumont Street, one house in from the water, sought to expand their two-story home by adding a third story, bulking out the building in the front and the rear, and doubling the floor area allowed by zoning standards. But, during questioning at the public hearing, Community Board members expressed concern that the homeowner had previously got caught dodging zoning, and rebuilt a shoddy house with the intention of coming before the Board for a new application.
“Since [violating zoning laws and having the permits revoked,] the owners constructed a new home that appears to be purposely built to be destroyed,” said neighbor Samuel Falack, who lives on the block and also spoke on behalf of the Manhattan Beach Community Group. “It has a shabbily built second floor and a flat roof that has pipes leading to what they hope will be an attic or a third floor with the expectation that a second special permit will be granted.”
Falack called the application disingenuous, and urged the Board to oppose it.
Well, looks like I won’t have to wait much longer. The storefront of Delmar Pizza & Italian Eatery at 1668 Sheepshead Bay Road is just about done, with new facade and all. We stopped in there today, and the interior still needs work, but the owner tells us the hardest part is behind them. They were constructing a brand new counter, which looks like it runs a little longer than the previous one – but it’s okay, they’ve pushed back the back wall, too, so the seating area will stay about the same.
They will be open in early spring if all goes according to plan. That’s just a few weeks away, and another reason to celebrate the end of this dreadful, depressing winter.
The program will be funded with $400 million from the $51 billion disaster relief package approved by Congress, but the plan itself still needs federal approval. Cuomo aides made the rounds in Washington D.C. last week, pitching to officials a vision in which New York State purchases hundreds of median-sale-price homes along the coast, gives financial incentives to homeowners who move nearby, demolishes the homes, and keeps the land permanently undeveloped.
For the 10,000 or so homes in the 100-year flood plain that were substantially damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Cuomo would offer owners the pre-storm full market value of their houses. Homeowners who chose to relocate within their home county would receive a 5 percent bonus above the market value, as part of a government effort to encourage them to stay nearby. State officials said they were planning for the possibility that 10 to 15 percent of those eligible would take the buyout.
Residents of more vulnerable areas would receive a further enticement: they would be allowed to sell their homes even if the homes suffered little, or possibly even no, damage from the hurricane, and the state would pay them an additional 10 percent bonus, above market value, to sweeten the deal.
In a few dozen blocks located in areas of extreme risk, the state would offer another 10 percent bonus if every homeowner on the block agreed to sell. Local officials would be expected to determine how best to use the new open space, though they would not be allowed to build on it.
Residents of affluent areas like Manhattan Beach, though, are unlikely to benefit – the program will only target houses at around the median home value. It remains to be seen, however, if neighbors in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and other Brooklyn neighborhoods should anticipate much relief, either. Details of the program are still sketchy, and it’s not yet clear whether this program will have much traction in urban communities where dense population, developed waterfronts and municipal bureaucracy present different challenges than in smaller communities like in Long Island or Staten Island, where implementation is likely to be more successful.