Planned parking-free apartments near Barclays Center stoke fear

Planned parking-free apartments near Barclays Center stoke fear
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A developer promises he’s doing the community a favor by not including parking at his planned 55-unit apartment building across the street from the Barclays Center, but Prospect Heights residents say he’s only making things worse.

Martin Domansky claims he wants to do away with required on-site parking at his proposed apartment building on Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street to discourage car owners from moving to the traffic-clogged streets near the soon-to-be-finished home of the Brooklyn Nets.

“We want to make it a better neighborhood,” said Domansky, who is planning a $20-million five-story luxury rental complex that will replace the blue, triangle-shaped Bergen Tile factory, which closed in 2008.

Domansky will need a variance to skirt city regulations requiring him to build roughly two dozen parking spaces — and he claims he couldn’t provide the spots if he wanted to because his lot isn’t large enough to accommodate the planned building as well as street-level spaces or an underground garage.

But neighbors of the rental complex claim its tenants won’t stop driving because the building lacks parking — they’ll just park on the street instead, taking precious spaces away from other drivers in Prospect Heights who will soon compete with arena crowds for spots.

“Getting people to take mass transit is a good thing,” said Richard Goldstein, the president of the Carlton Avenue Block Association. “But not having a parking facility at the site will exacerbate the parking problem in the neighborhood.”

And neighbors fear that problem will only get worse once the 19,000-seat arena — the centerpiece of developer Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards mega-project (which includes a proposed apartment building next door to Domansky’s) — opens for concerts and Nets games this fall.

The arena will only have parking spaces for 1,100 cars, but an estimated 3,000 cars and 80 trucks will visit the site before and after basketball games, according to an environmental impact statement for the project.

In November, City Council approved a controversial plan to sell parking permits to neighborhood residents. But the proposal stalled in the state Senate, where Republican leaders say they won’t sign off on the program because it amounts to a tax on something that has always been free.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), who backed the plan, said Domansky’s project would set a dangerous precedent.

“Parking is going to be important once the arena opens,” James said. “I would hope that he reconsiders his position.”

Domansky applied to the city’s obscure but powerful Board of Standards and Appeals to forego the parking requirement at his building, according to Brownstoner.com, which broke the story.

He said he plans to start construction in August and open the tower in 2014.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.