Brighton Beach residents are worried about the impact of a proposed 40-story tower on the already-crowded schools — despite the developer’s plan to fill the building with young hipsters and childless couples.
One elected official said the district — which has schools operating at 130 and 141 percent — has more than enough students already and adding a 430-foot full of new residents could overwhelm an already congested area.
“We are overcapacity in District 21,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island).
The plans for the tower set to replace the Trump Village Shopping Center — which are still awaiting approval from the Department of Buildings — include 544 residential units with 109 enclosed parking spaces and a retail unit on the ground floor.
At previous public meetings presenting the plans for the tower, one of the developer’s representatives, Dennis Hasher, said mostly single individuals without children will live in the tower, so residents don’t have to worry about more overcrowding in the school system.
A local neighborhood booster said the likelihood of the developer turning Sheepshead Bay into the next hipster enclave is slim.
“Williamsburg is Williamsburg — it is Williamsburg because of its geographical proximity [to Manhattan],” said Steve Barrison, the president of the Bay Improvement Group. “To say that [Brighton Beach] is comparable, would be quite a leap.”
Seventy-five perfect of the units will be one-bedrooms and studios, according to Christa Segalini, a spokeswoman for the developer. But Treyger said it is unrealistic to promises locals that the new residents won’t have families.
“I don’t know what he wants us to believe — are robots moving into these apartments?” said Treyger, adding that it is impossible for the developer to predict how families will decide to reproduce. “There is a huge disconnect between what was presented — what was shared with the public — and what actually is.”
A longtime local said that even if an influx of kids doesn’t overrun the schools, new resisdents would still add to the neighborhood’s traffic and infrastructure problems.
“In theory, you could bus the kids to another school,” said Brighton Beacher Ida Sanoff, before adding that in reality, the roads are so congested, residents have a hard time driving already. “Traffic now is so extreme for most of the year — people are literally trapped.”
Treyger said that the developer may be legally entitled to build the as-of-right project, it is in the best interest of everyone for the owner to listen to the community’s concerns.
“I understand what as-of-right means but they have to understand what democracy means,” he said.
Tentative plans for the new shopping center include “upscale” stores like Trader Joe’s — a contrast to pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and discount stores that line the shopping complex now.
Because the soil underneath the current complex is contaminated with toxins such as cyanide and mercury, the Department of Environmental Conservation is hosting a meeting later this month to discuss the department’s overseeing of the cleanup of the site before the developer announces the start date for construction.
Trump Village Shopping Center Public Meeting featuring the Department of Environmental Conservation at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brighton Beach (2800 Ocean Parkway near West Avenue). Feb. 11 at 7 pm.