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The developer behind an embattled Carroll Gardens condo building thinks he can beat back neighborhood opposition this time with some New Math.
Following an outpouring of neighborhood opposition, Community Board 6’s Land Use Committee voted last Thursday to oppose developer Billy Stein’s effort to restart construction of his Second Place apartment building — a seven-story structure that has been halted since the city rezoned 15 blocks of the neighborhood in July.
“These height limits are important to preserving the character of our neighborhood,” said Stein opponent Mark Shames, echoing a common sentiment of the roughly 20 people who attended the Aug. 28 hearing at in PS 32 on Hoyt and Union streets.
The four people who supported Stein’s efforts to build the so-called “Oliver House” said it was unfair to punish him because Stein would have been grandfathered in under the original zoning had he not delayed construction in an attempt to appease his unhappy neighbors.
“I don’t like this project, but he has a right to do it,” said Michael Brown, a Carroll Gardens resident. “Being proactive and engaging with the community probably slowed him down and that’s why we’re here.”
Stein hopes to get off the ground floor when he goes before the city’s Bureau of Standards and Appeals, an agency that can grant exemptions to construction regulations.
The crux of Stein’s argument will be that more than 50 percent of his foundation was in place at the time of the zoning switch — the standard for being grandfathered in.
With that criteria in mind, some residents don’t expect the neighborhood’s prevailing opposition to sway the city.
“The fact that the community is unhappy about it may or may not be relevant,” said Peter Fleming, the subcommittee’s chairman.
An irony of the zoning change is that Stein could actually build a much taller — perhaps up to 12 stories — on his lot, which straddles the beloved Carroll Street subway entrance plaza.
But Stein downplayed worries he might use that option.
“It’s not my intention to go any taller,” he said.
Community Board 6 will have a full vote on Stein’s project at its next meeting, Sept. 10 at Long Island College Hospital (339 Hicks St., near Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill), 6:30 pm. Call (718) 643-3027 for info.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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