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Weigh in: Community Board to host hearing about Boerum Hill jail expansion

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Make your voices heard about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to expand the Brooklyn House of Detention as part of his scheme to close Rikers Island at a public hearing in Clinton Hill on Thursday.

Community Board 2 will host the four-hour session on April 11 at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Auditorium.

Civic honchos will hear the community’s input on the city’s proposal to raze the current Boerum Hill structure in order to make way for a new building more than twice its height, with space for hundreds more inmates.

The city’s Planning Commission certified the plans on March 25, kicking off the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which the city must complete before it can break ground at the Atlantic Avenue lot.

The current facility at Boerum Place is 170 feet tall with 11 stories and houses 815 beds across some 161,765 square feet — almost the size of three football fields.

The city proposes to demolish the 62-year-old structure and replace it with a new 395-foot tall building at some 40 stories and grow the floor space to 1,190,000 square feet — more than seven times its current area — with 1,437 beds.

The new building will also house 30,0000 square feet — or just north of half a football field’s worth — of retail or community space at ground level along Boerum Place, Atlantic Avenue, and Smith Street, as well as 292 underground parking spaces for Department of Correction staff, according to its draft environmental impact statement.

After the community board hearing there will be several more meetings, including one led by Borough President Eric Adams, the Planning Commission, and the City Council.

The mayor committed in 2017 to close the Rikers Island complex by 2027 and reduce the number of incarcerated people to 5,000 spread out across four borough jails in Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Manhattan.

These smaller jails would allow for inmates to be closer to their families, attorneys, courts, medical and mental health care, and faith and community-based organizations, which will make the incarceration system more modern and humane, according to the city’s website on the project.

Tell Community Board 2 what you think about the mayor’s plan at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Auditorium [357 Clermont Ave. from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., doors open at 4:30 p.m., enter from Greene Avenue, wheelchair-accessible entrance on Clermont Avenue].

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 1:24 pm, April 10, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I am all for shutting down the disaster that is Rikers Island (and filling in the gap to expand LGA into the space. But 2x as high while having a bigger footprint? Is that really necessary?
April 10, 10:12 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Boerum Hill Association position.... We have accepted the continuing presence of a jail in our neighborhood but we insist that the Brooklyn Center be a good neighbor and respect our neighborhood as well as serve the criminal justice reform mission: To protect us and to rehabilitate and treat those who are incarcerated. We support criminal justice reform and understand the moral imperative to close Rikers Island. We oppose the current proposal for a 395 foot building with a capacity for 1430 beds. We ask about a plan for an 800-bed or less, state-of-the-art facility, and to see what shape and size would result. If you believe you can significantly reduce the jail population then we must work toward that goal using many initiatives and not just four large jails. We support State and City legislation to assure bail reform and we support full discovery. People who are mentally ill should be treated in an appropriate medical facility, separate from one that houses physically dangerous inmates. Likewise substance abuse detainees should have their illness treated and not warehoused. Do not certify a large building envelope during the ULURP process. Certify at a FAR of 8 -10 within the current envelope which is larger than the current 6 FAR and much less than the 17.8 proposed by the City. The City should not get a FAR bonus for the demapping of Street while keeping it open for traffic. This is, we believe, a way of getting a bigger footprint and more FAR. The current proposal is out-of-scale with nearby buildings and the residential community. We do not believe a mega-jail will serve the Criminal Justice goals. Due to its large size and population Brooklyn should have at least two jails. In summary, we appreciate the effort to address off-street parking and the offer of a community space on the first floor, however we cannot support the scope, scale and bulk of the proposed new Brooklyn jail. We are not opposed to a new jail but we are opposed to a Skyscraper of Detention.
April 12, 4:12 pm

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