A plan to expand the Carroll Gardens historic district is prompting the neighborhood’s“silent majority” to have their voices finally heard.
“We do not want tall high rises that block the sun,” said Third Place resident Beverly DiCovello. “But there is no guarantee that if you have to be landmarked and find that you can’t replace a window.”
Critics charge that a move to extend the district will be a hassle for landlords, who will be forced to win the approval of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for any and all exterior work done on their buildings. That, some fear, could also result in higher rents for tenants, some fear. Some also contend that property taxes might rise precipitously if the district is expanded.
The Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association (CGNA), a local civic group, has taken up the expansionist cause, arguing that it could add a layer of protection to bocks that have in the past been threatened by overdevelopment and out of character buildings. Ultimately, will be up to Landmarks to determine the size and scope of any new proposal. The agency has said it is just in the early stages of evaluating the district.
Glenn Kelly,co-chair of the CGNA’s Land Use Committee, said one of the preliminary steps will be for Landmarks officials to canvass the neighborhood to determine a reasonable scope for the proposal. “To see which blocks are viable,” he added, “we intend to go door to door to property owners,” notifying them about upcoming meetings and determining “the extent ofsupport or opposition.”
DiCovello told the CGNA that many of the opponents of the expansion are older, and don’t typically go out in the evening hours to attend meetings like the civic group’s — leaving them unheard in the increasingly controversial debate.
Long time local resident Celia Cacace said she knows for certain that not everyone is thrilled with the potential proposal. “My home is owned by my niece and shedoesn’t want her home landmarked,” she said, adding that since the CGNA is “pushing the proposal,” it should bet he entity required to dispatch postcards to residents informing them about it.
Maria Pagano, president of the neighborhood association, insisted that it is not up to her civic group to decide which blocks receive landmark status, if any. “Landmarks tells us what’s what,” she said.