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A big Domi-NO from CB1

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Community Board 1 rejected the $1.2-billion redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar factory on Tuesday night.

The 23-12 vote backing the board’s land-use committee vote last week is the second hurdle for the Community Preservation Corporation, which will need the support of Borough President Markowitz, the City Planning Commission and the City Council to build a multiple-skyscraper project along the Williamsburg waterfront that is larger than the zoning currently allows.

At the board meeting, CPC representatives continued their promise to price 30 percent of their 2,200 units at below-market rates. That 30 percent is higher than the required 20 percent set forth by the 2005 Greenpoint­/Williamsb­urg waterfront rezoning, but CB1 members said they wanted more from the developers — including a pledge to help create better transportation around the growing western edge of Williamsburg; permanent affordability; reduced building density; and more open space among them.

Developers said that many of the board’s questions have been answered already.

“We’re working with a great project, and we’re committed to permanent affordabil­ity,” said Susan Pollock, senior vice president of the development company, which bought the site just north of the Williamsburg Bridge in 2004 after Domino shut down operations. “We’re going to continue fighting.”

The community board vote is merely advisory to Markowitz’s decision, which could come after his public hearing on Thursday. The borough president’s decision may simply be a suggestion, too, considering that the City Planning Commission just voted contrary to his rejection of the Rose Plaza complex, also on the Williamsburg waterfront.

Along with promising affordability, Pollock has been straightforward with her discussion of density — without the rezoning to allow for lucrative tall towers, the 30 percent affordability could not happen.

“The density of this project is required in order to make the entire program work,” she said at the land-use committee meeting last month.

She added that CPC is willing to make changes to the six-phase project if the system of housing and retail space in the first site — the refinery’s former parking lot on Kent Avenue between South Third and South Fourth streets — doesn’t work as planned.

But as for Community Board 1, the consensus followed the committee’s main question: will the Domino project actually benefit the neighborhood as a whole?

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Reader Feedback

Southsider from Williamsburg says:
What a horrible plan. Truly awful community killing towers.
March 10, 2010, 9:30 am
Jake Lodwick from Williamsburg says:
So sad that we live in such an unfree world. Ambitious entrepreneurs creating life-improving developments are halted by arbitrary rules from unaccountable committees. My heart goes out to the developers fighting for their dreams. Don't give up!
March 10, 2010, 9:52 am
Jacob Felson from Jersey City says:
This is absurd. Lower density? I have walked along Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, and the place clearly lacks vibrant street life. The way to increase transportation options is to license bus stops to private jitney bus companies, not to make demands on the developer. 30% affordable housing and they're still unhappy? Ridiculous. New York has to be rescued from the socialists (itself).
March 10, 2010, 10:49 am
ms nomer from williamsburg says:
Jacob, the MTA had to take over the private bus lines serving the outer boroughs, because the bus companies couldn't make things work in spite of government subsidies. To suggest that we do it again here, and expect a different result, is naive.
March 10, 2010, 11:04 am
John Birch from Greenpoint says:
Warning to all! Beware of negative "Developer Viral Blogging." The facts are wrong, the opinions are right out of a Karl Rove "swift-boat" handbook. You will see the same stuff recycled over and over, substituting different words and expressions. "New York has to be rescued from the socialists" ... sound Sarah Palin/Tea Party familiar?
March 10, 2010, 12:43 pm
Lisa from Williamsburg says:
Thanks to David Neiderman and Shimon Wieser the communitity will be saved from this mega development and more traffic. One more aspect that should be noted is like David Neideman and Shimon wieser both noted and were very strong about is the " FISH IN THE EAST RIVER" the damage to wild life in the east river is a major concern and we will fight any development period said Mr Wiesr
March 10, 2010, 5:12 pm
Boris from Bay Ridge says:
Any claim that density is "required" for affordable housing is undermined by the huge number of parking spots the developer wants to build. People who live in affordable housing can't afford cars, and won't need them anyway if other modes of transportation are done right. Nothing that includes almost 2000 parking spots can be called "dense" and "affordable". The additional driving these spots will cause will destroy the neighborhood.

CB 1 should have specific requirements for the project: replace 1000 parking spots with 100 spots for bikes and rental cars, and use the extra space for affordable housing, stores, or whatever else that's of actual benefit to people.
March 11, 2010, 10:39 am
John Birch from Greenpoint says:
Boris - just spent 25 minutes trying to drive down kent ave. from the bridge to N. 9th St. And then another 20 minutes driving down Wythe to S. 11th st. This is WITHOUT the new building even being occupied, the ones still being built. the ones planned, sans-Domino. With "The New Domino" fahgetaboutit, its over. The L train, need to let three to four trains pass before you can even get on. The JMZ, platform so crowded one day that people were close to falling on the tracks. The B61 Buss, my emergency route to the 7 in LIC to get to mid-town, needed to wait for two busses to pass before I could get on one, and that one was PACKED. Ferry service, oh yeah, that was discontinued, on again, then off. Biker riders and pedestrians are almost hit by cars and trucks, BIG trucks every day - I was one of them (a few times). cars and trucks knocking down street signs, fire hydrants. Its only a matter of time before little kids get run over with all the schools here now. Holly #%&K! Stay indoors, everyone. Tell your employer's, you need to work remotely, it's to dangerous to even get to the transportation that can't handle what's already here. Need to get to the Bodega, wish me luck.
March 11, 2010, 12:34 pm
Jacob Felson from Jersey City says:
@"John Birch" from Greenpoint: Palin & Tea Party is the opposite extreme -- they're irrational & ridiculous.

I don't see what is so bad about this development. OK, they need to add more public transportation capacity in the area, with the development or without. So the answer is to do that, not to kill this development. The waterfront is partially abandoned. I don't understand why people would rather leave it that way than have an inhabited waterfront.
March 13, 2010, 12:06 pm
Jacob Felson from Jersey City says:
Also -- its not extreme to call NYC socialist. This is the city where you have a council member proposing a ban on salt in restaurants, where half of apartments are subject to heavy government regulation. And where local and state tax burdens are nearly the highest in the nation, approaching the levels of some European nations that are proudly socialist. Can't we achieve a good balance somewhere IN BETWEEN NYC and Texas in terms of government taxation and regulation!?!
March 13, 2010, 12:10 pm

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