Rampant development and lack of city planning key topics at Squadron’s open house
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
December 3, 2015
‘Developers are making out like bandits’
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Protecting New York City’s open space from development and the lack of enlightened city planning were two major areas of concern expressed by constituents at state Sen. Daniel Squadron’s town hall in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday.
“Where are the visionary city planners like Frederick Law Olmsted in the past? Where are the Jane Jacobs of today?” asked Brooklyn resident Kim Fraser.
“Developers are making out like bandits with zoning changes,” said Catherine Thompson. “If there can be $100 million apartments 900 feet in the air, it seems like New York City can afford to complete the 27-acre Bushwick Inlet Park, 7.5 acres to go, which was promised in the 2005 waterfront rezoning.”
Squadron said he was outraged that the community would not get the open space promised as part of a major residential rezoning at Bushwick Inlet Park – an issue he said had citywide significance.
“It is truly appalling,” he told the hundred or so people gathered in the student lounge at Brooklyn Law School. “With Assemblymenber Joe Lentol, I have introduced legislation to take that property by eminent domain. This is something that’s very rare for me to do — eminent domain has many concerns when we use it as solutions in general.”
However, he added, “The specifics of this case are so overwhelming, and given the city’s resistance to answers it is an important tool to be using here … This open space was literally promised as part of rezoning, period.”
While it is “absolutely unacceptable that the city is failing to keep its promise at Bushwick Inlet Park,” Squadron said, “there’s also a bigger question in there. It’s something that we’re seeing, frankly, in the LICH [Long Island College Hospital] situation and we saw it in Manhattan at NYU’s proposed redevelopment: The idea that open space is a critical part of our life here in New York City. Parks are a key part of our lives here.”
Open space “is not an afterthought or a luxury, though it is too often thought of that way,” Squadron said. “In fact, it’s dangled out as an enticement when you have development or added density or something else that the community is uncomfortable with — and too often that enticement isn’t really, truly public, open space.”…
Photo by Mary Frost, BDE