Boards back off e-permitting for block parties

The Brooklyn Paper
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While a citywide switch to electronic applications may streamline the planning of block parties, the move is raising eyebrows at two local community boards.

Up[ to now, the boards have processed the applications submitted by block associations and other community groups working in concert with the local precincts.

The potential bypassing of both the community board and the precinct through the e-permitting process -- which will begin in January -- has boards nervous.

“Community Board 17 will continue to process street closing applications the old-fashioned way,” announced Sherif Fraser, the board’s district manager during CB 17’s December meeting, which was held in the gymnasium at St. Therese of Lisieux, Troy Avenue and Avenue D, in East Flatbush.

“There’s a reason for that,” she continued. “We work collaboratively with the precinct. Who better to know the community than the community themselves? If the board isn’t going to be given an opportunity to review these applications before they are forwarded to the community affairs office, we have a problem with that.”

Specifically, said Fraser, there are some groups whose applications the board has consistently turned down because of “safety reasons.”

While boards have three options for each permit - to approve, to deny or to abstain -- “We were also told that they have the authority to override,” stressed Fraser.

Neighboring Community Board 14 -- whose catchment area includes Flatbush, Midwood and Kensington -- also is leery of the new process.

“We strongly encourage our residents to continue to initiate the application process in our office,” noted CB 14 District Manager Doris Ortiz during the board’s December meeting.

“This will allow us to evaluate the application itself prior to their submitting it,” Ortiz told board members and members of the public gathered in the auditorium at Public School 249, Caton Avenue and Marlborough Road. “We urge you to continue to work with us.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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