Community Board 15 helped clear the way for a new storage facility on Knapp Street, voting in support of a waiver to existing zoning restrictions at their meeting last Tuesday despite objections from community groups.
The proposed location. Click to enlarge. (Source: Google Maps)
Metro Storage NY came before the Board in a process to repeal a “restrictive declaration” on the property at 2713-2735 Knapp Street, a wedge of land that juts into Plumb Beach Channel at Voorhies Avenue. The 28-year-old declaration prohibits any use other than a retail and marina development, a clause that has caused the land to stay desolate since the original plans fell through years ago.
“It’s derelict. What do I see here? I see some trucks, I see some cars,” said Metro Storage’s attorney, Howard Goldman, before the Board.
Goldman said the restrictive declaration and the lot’s proximity to the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant means that few plans can get through the process to make use of the property. In 1996, an application was submitted for a two-story retail development was squashed, and, in 2005, a plan for a residential development was opposed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
To many longtime residents in some of the borough’s unaffected corners — in the rough-edged and timeless Brooklyn that has endured in places like Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay, Brownsville and East New York — the renaissance is still being watched with amusement, nervousness and even dismay.
Among the many yuppie-hipster trends sneered at by those in our area, supermarket politics earned considerable ire:
Following the Halloween controversy, the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association decided to close its doors to the public for an undetermined amount of time.
Local officials who requested not to be named are reporting to Sheepshead Bites that they were “disinvited” from the group’s meeting last night, and GerritsenBeach.net reports that the meetings are now closed to all but “Class A” members.
We’ve heard that GBPOA President George Broadhead decided not to attend last night’s meeting, for reasons currently unknown to Sheepshead Bites.
Class A members are property owners who have paid a membership free. Class B members are renters with membership benefits.
Because the group, which dates back to 1922, has never received public funding and is not a non-profit, it can legally close their meetings. However, actions speak louder than words. The group acts and intends to be a local civic organization and this is a dangerous slippery slope they are headed down. They intend to have the community come to them with issues that can be voiced and hashed out in public.
… There is no reason for anyone to be less than candid just because the public is watching.
… I believe that the Property Owners is retaliating against the community and reporters because of a video that surfaced of last meeting. Despite promises of transparency and a member vote, they are closing the meeting. Groups like this should do their business in public unless there is a compelling reason not to.
The video referred to in the excerpt was shot by Sheepshead Bites, and showed the meeting as it was overtaken by upset parents berating GerritsenBeach.net’s blogger, Daniel Cavanagh, for exposing their children’s violent antics on Halloween.
Our reaction? So be it. Now how do we close off Brooklyn from Gerritsen Beach?
None of the parents, business owners or victims affected attended the Wednesday night meeting to request a stronger police response for next year’s Halloween. Nor did the incident make it into Deputy Inspector Mastrokostas’ 5-minute report [above].
The issue did surface briefly, though, when a Sheepshead Bay resident expressed concern for the victims, and Mastrokostas said the issue has been on his mind. [5:00 in video above]
At least one angry neighbor turned to property damage to settle scores, lobbing a pumpkin at the blogger’s family’s home over the weekend. The pumpkin cracked the house’s vinyl siding when it was hit on Saturday night, around 10 p.m. Cavanagh said he filed a police report with the 61st Precinct.
Local leaders pressed MTA officials and the agency’s contractor for proposals and promises from the authority this morning, but the biggest payoff appears to be for residents of Gerritsen Beach and communities east of Sheepshead Bay.
“Did a magic bullet appear? No,” said Councilman Lew Fidler of the meeting. “The thing that probably will come out of it – and we’re optimistic will come out of it – and it doesn’t affect a whole lot of people, but it does affect Weinstein’s constituents and mine – there was some willingness to consider reversing some of the service cuts on the BM3 and BM4 buses. That’s the thing we’re most optimistic will happen, but obviously it doesn’t help the vast majority of people affected by the construction.”
It appears the MTA came unaware of the demands and complaints awaiting them.
“They were there to tell their side of the story, and I think that’s all they thought they were there for,” said George Broadhead, president of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association. Broadhead said they came to discuss the construction plans, not alter them. However, the meeting changed direction when Broadhead brought up the recent service changes to the BM3 and BM4 buses, which provide alternative Manhattan-bound service to Gerritsen Beach and the eastern portion of Sheepshead Bay. Those bus routes now leave many riders with only the handicapped B/Q line.
The MTA officials present only represented the subway service, and according to sources at the meeting, they were unaware of the bus division’s actions and dismissed it as the other branch’s responsibility.
“[State Senator Carl] Kruger blew his top,” said one source who asked not to be named. “[The MTA was] there to really apologize for all the bullcrap. But I think they got a taste of it from Kruger.”
Kruger scolded the MTA for its dismissive attitude towards bus alternatives, reportedly saying, “We bailed you out with billions of tax-payer dollars, and now you’re telling me the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing?” Continue Reading »