Grump Towers! Community board votes no on Newtown Creek high rises • Brooklyn Paper

Grump Towers! Community board votes no on Newtown Creek high rises

Big little brother: Neighbors also want to stop the two tower 77 Commercial Street development in its tracks.

A community board is telling the developers of two huge Greenpoint high-rise projects to take a long walk off a short Newtown Creek pier.

Community Board 1, which serves Williamsburg and Greenpoint, voted no on Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street, both skyscraping apartment complexes planned for the Newtown Creek end of the nabe, saying that the developers responsible are shadier than a privately-run park surrounded by high-rise luxury condos.

“They are not doing the right thing,” community board member Rob Solano said of the developers. “They are arrogant, they don’t get it, and they answer questions with questions.”

The caginess of the developers planning the adjacent 19-tower (Greenpoint Landing) and two-tower (77 Commercial Street) complexes shows that they were not serious about transparency, said Solano, who wants to know why the projects do not include more three-bedroom apartments and why the towers are designed to have separate entrances for low-income tenants. The community board member thinks that the developers tried to ram the projects through when they thought no one was looking.

“It’s the oldest trick in the book: if you want to get anything done, you push it through in the summer [when the community board does not meet],” said Solano. “By the time the fall comes around, it’s already at the city council.”

Steamed: Helen Kersten, right, voiced her disapproval of the plans for the Greenpoint Landing at an Aug. 14 community board meeting. Greenpointers say the project is a recipe for disaster that will raise rents, expose people to Superfund toxins, and strain the low-rise neighborhood's infrastructure.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

But Greenpointers were paying attention. Two community board meetings last month drew hundreds of outraged neighbors and, last week, residents rallied at a protest, vowing to sue the city and developers over supposedly inadequate environmental studies.

The community board does not have the power to stop the towers from rising, leaving some anti-high-rise neighbors holding their collective breath as the projects move through the bureaucratic process, going up for approval first before the borough president and then the council and mayor.

“I don’t think [the no vote] matters so much in the end because [the community board] is just an advisory group,” said Carolyn Bednarski, who lives across the street from the proposed towers. “We are taking it one step at a time. We have to deal with [Borough President] Marty Markowitz next.”

Markowitz has until Oct. 9 to say yea or nay.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Not on my waterfront: Greenpoint's community board has voted no on Greenpoint Landing, the vertical village planned to rise at the mouth of the Newtown Creek.

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