Dock Street Dumbo Hearing

[UPDATE 3:50pm: We received an email update from the CB2 that the Youth, Education and Cultural Affairs Committee meeting, originally planned to follow the community board’s public hearing last night on the "Dock Street DUMBO" mixed-use development project, has been re-scheduled for 6:00 p.m. tonight, Thursday, December 18, 2008, in Room 119 of the Health Sciences Center of Long Island University, DeKalb and Hudson avenues.

The Land Use Committee meeting also planned to follow the public hearing has not yet been re-scheduled.]

A large crowd of almost 300 people showed up for the Community Board 2 public hearing last night, which lasted from 6pm to 9:30pm. After Jed Walentas and the Two Trees consultants (architect Laura Chang, site planning and general counsel Ross Holden, and zoning approval process by Ken Fischer) presented their updated plans, the floor was opened for public comment. The local politicians began with their comments. It was already public that Council member David Yassky opposes the development, who believes that a middle school can either be expanded at PS8 or developed in another location and the building size is too tall relative to the proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge. Then Councilwoman Letitia James provided support for the project citing that this is not another Atlantic Yards and should be welcome by the community due to the affordable housing, middle school, and will provide diversity for the community.

CB2 Chairman John Dew followed by equally providing opponents and supporters 2 minutes to present their case for public record, to avoid lopsided view points. The presentations lasted much longer than anticipated, and as a result, the community board vote was postponed until a later date. Please let us know your thoughts about the hearing by commenting below.

Previously: {Dock Street}

63 Comment

  • There was no clear winner since the opponents and supporters were divided pretty much equally. what was interesting is that all the business tenants of Two Trees properties who came, spoke out to support the project, including Jacques Torres, Dumbo BID Executive Director Kate Kerrigan, various artists, St. Ann’s Warehouse President Susan Feldman, Galapagos owner Robert Elmes, Gleason’s Gym owner Bruce Silverglade and others. The opposers were all the neighborhood associations: the DNA, BHA, Fulton Ferry Assn, Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Assn. The PS8 parents seemed to be divided, and the Farragut community were supportive of the project.

  • There was no clear winner since the opponents and supporters were divided pretty much equally. what was interesting is that all the business tenants of Two Trees properties who came, spoke out to support the project, including Jacques Torres, Dumbo BID Executive Director Kate Kerrigan, various artists, St. Ann’s Warehouse President Susan Feldman, Galapagos owner Robert Elmes, Gleason’s Gym owner Bruce Silverglade and others. The opposers were all the neighborhood associations: the DNA, BHA, Fulton Ferry Assn, Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Assn. The PS8 parents seemed to be divided, and the Farragut community were supportive of the project.

  • I agree with attended too that there was no clear winner. I’m personally opposed to the project though.

    The people who supported the project seemed to be pro school and pro affordable housing. (If it didn’t have those two components to the project I don’t think any of them would be supporting it though.)

    People don’t realize that it’s only 65 units of affordable housing if it remains a rental property. The developer has not stated what sizes those units will be (ie studio, 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms) and it’s unlikely that current DUMBO or even Brooklyn residents will be guaranteed those units. The school plan also seems to be flawed. The Dept of Ed/City will be responsible for building out the school, they only get the shell. Plus they don’t know the actual number of students it can accommodate yet, and there’s no room for it to grow. It was also interesting to hear parents from the Farragut Housing projects speak because they want to see their kids go to school there, which I feel they have a right too. I got the feeling from the DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights residents in attendance that they don’t want those kids in our neighborhood, or even some it’s residents or even affordable housing in the neighborhood. They want the school just for their kids, which isn’t a guarantee, I don’t most parents realize that yet.

    Those who spoke against the project focused on the proximity to the bridge, the obstruction of views, both in and out of DUMBO, the addition of 400 parking spaces/cars into the neighborhood, school buses, and the possibility of the building turning into condos (which would eliminate the affordable housing).

  • I agree with attended too that there was no clear winner. I’m personally opposed to the project though.

    The people who supported the project seemed to be pro school and pro affordable housing. (If it didn’t have those two components to the project I don’t think any of them would be supporting it though.)

    People don’t realize that it’s only 65 units of affordable housing if it remains a rental property. The developer has not stated what sizes those units will be (ie studio, 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms) and it’s unlikely that current DUMBO or even Brooklyn residents will be guaranteed those units. The school plan also seems to be flawed. The Dept of Ed/City will be responsible for building out the school, they only get the shell. Plus they don’t know the actual number of students it can accommodate yet, and there’s no room for it to grow. It was also interesting to hear parents from the Farragut Housing projects speak because they want to see their kids go to school there, which I feel they have a right too. I got the feeling from the DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights residents in attendance that they don’t want those kids in our neighborhood, or even some it’s residents or even affordable housing in the neighborhood. They want the school just for their kids, which isn’t a guarantee, I don’t most parents realize that yet.

    Those who spoke against the project focused on the proximity to the bridge, the obstruction of views, both in and out of DUMBO, the addition of 400 parking spaces/cars into the neighborhood, school buses, and the possibility of the building turning into condos (which would eliminate the affordable housing).

  • It seemed to me that the proposal is a step in the right direction compared to the Two Trees proposal in 2004 with the addition of the middle school, affordable rental units, and the bulk of the proposed building moved away from the bridge. Based on the community outreach done by Two Trees and the several reverends who came to support the project, they’ve considered the public’s prior concerns and addressed them. The arguments by the supporters mainly focused on the need for a school, which no one disputed, and the need for housing (as the earlier commenter said), and that in these tough economic times and budget cuts, we should accept the Walentas’ generous offer of this public community component to the private development.

    Several people also recognized the Walentas’ contributions to the community and even the DNA members agree that he has done a lot to benefit Dumbo. There has to be a middle ground.

  • It seemed to me that the proposal is a step in the right direction compared to the Two Trees proposal in 2004 with the addition of the middle school, affordable rental units, and the bulk of the proposed building moved away from the bridge. Based on the community outreach done by Two Trees and the several reverends who came to support the project, they’ve considered the public’s prior concerns and addressed them. The arguments by the supporters mainly focused on the need for a school, which no one disputed, and the need for housing (as the earlier commenter said), and that in these tough economic times and budget cuts, we should accept the Walentas’ generous offer of this public community component to the private development.

    Several people also recognized the Walentas’ contributions to the community and even the DNA members agree that he has done a lot to benefit Dumbo. There has to be a middle ground.

  • Are there any businesses who lease from Two Trees opposed to the Dock St project? If St. Ann’s is going to be displaced as a result of the project, where will they go? I know they got subsidized an all, but just wondering. Also what is Joshua Guttman’s position on this, given that he’s the other major developer in DUMBO?

  • Are there any businesses who lease from Two Trees opposed to the Dock St project? If St. Ann’s is going to be displaced as a result of the project, where will they go? I know they got subsidized an all, but just wondering. Also what is Joshua Guttman’s position on this, given that he’s the other major developer in DUMBO?

  • I’m ambivalent about the project (though it’ll block a portion of my view of the bridge). Has anyone, on either side, put together a google earth model of the project?

    W/R/T St Ann’s, I thought the intent was that they’d move across Water to the Tobacco Warehouse, but I haven’t seen anything of note on redevelopment of either the warehouse or Empire Stores.

  • I’m ambivalent about the project (though it’ll block a portion of my view of the bridge). Has anyone, on either side, put together a google earth model of the project?

    W/R/T St Ann’s, I thought the intent was that they’d move across Water to the Tobacco Warehouse, but I haven’t seen anything of note on redevelopment of either the warehouse or Empire Stores.

  • Susan from St. Ann did not mention that they will be moving to a specific location as a result of the project, but only a statement that she supports the project.

    Also, who was/were the developer(s) who spoke who mentioned that Walentas is just using the school as a carrot?

  • Susan from St. Ann did not mention that they will be moving to a specific location as a result of the project, but only a statement that she supports the project.

    Also, who was/were the developer(s) who spoke who mentioned that Walentas is just using the school as a carrot?

  • white people don’t want black kids in their neighborhood? no, that can’t be?!?

  • white people don’t want black kids in their neighborhood? no, that can’t be?!?

  • first, the following are not necessarily my personal views. second, let’s call it what it is. the people that moved to dumbo, they spent an ass-load of money for their views (both from their apts and from the neighborhood generally), and they don’t want them blocked. they also don’t want additional competition when it comes to selling their units. as we all know, increased supply means decreased demand. finally, they don’t want a bunch of “non-neighborhood” kids running around their otherwise peaceful neighborhood wreaking havoc on the place and brining down their property values. these are the simple facts, and anyone who disputes them is merely a contrarian looking for air time. yes, i live there and i know the deal all too well.

    also, has anyone thought about the fact that it is highly unlikely that anyone actually living in dumbo proper would use the school? dumbo is not a “i have two kids in middle school” type of neighborhood. the current 1 and 2 bedrooms don’t support that. when dumboians kids get old enough, dumboians move to either the burbs or to places like park slope where they can buy brownstones and have more space for their growing families. does anyone know a middle school aged kid in dumbo? no, it’s all babies and toddlers, and as those families grow up they will move out and the next generation of dumboians who are just having their first kids will move in. again, simple facts. the school will be used primarily by kids from outside the direct neighborhhod. and that scares the crap out of dumboians, b/c at that means farragut, etc.

  • first, the following are not necessarily my personal views. second, let’s call it what it is. the people that moved to dumbo, they spent an ass-load of money for their views (both from their apts and from the neighborhood generally), and they don’t want them blocked. they also don’t want additional competition when it comes to selling their units. as we all know, increased supply means decreased demand. finally, they don’t want a bunch of “non-neighborhood” kids running around their otherwise peaceful neighborhood wreaking havoc on the place and brining down their property values. these are the simple facts, and anyone who disputes them is merely a contrarian looking for air time. yes, i live there and i know the deal all too well.

    also, has anyone thought about the fact that it is highly unlikely that anyone actually living in dumbo proper would use the school? dumbo is not a “i have two kids in middle school” type of neighborhood. the current 1 and 2 bedrooms don’t support that. when dumboians kids get old enough, dumboians move to either the burbs or to places like park slope where they can buy brownstones and have more space for their growing families. does anyone know a middle school aged kid in dumbo? no, it’s all babies and toddlers, and as those families grow up they will move out and the next generation of dumboians who are just having their first kids will move in. again, simple facts. the school will be used primarily by kids from outside the direct neighborhhod. and that scares the crap out of dumboians, b/c at that means farragut, etc.

  • your post makes me sad. so close minded.

  • your post makes me sad. so close minded.

  • “look…”, you say that these aren’t your views, but don’t provide reasons why you disagre/agree with what you wrote. I agree that some Dumbo residents do fear the unknown such as more kids running around the area and the fact that they may loose their views, but based on what I heard from neighbors, it’s really not the case. Most residents dont have a view to loose in the first place so that’s not a factor in their decision for or against the project. Also, if there are many parents in Dumbo, they are hoping to have a middle school built in the area so they don’t have to move to Park Slope or the burbs. Even in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment, many people in NYC do have two kids and even a dog. I hear that many people welcome more interaction with families and neighbors from Fort Greene, Farragut and downtown Brooklyn.

    BrooklynLove, why so sad?

  • “look…”, you say that these aren’t your views, but don’t provide reasons why you disagre/agree with what you wrote. I agree that some Dumbo residents do fear the unknown such as more kids running around the area and the fact that they may loose their views, but based on what I heard from neighbors, it’s really not the case. Most residents dont have a view to loose in the first place so that’s not a factor in their decision for or against the project. Also, if there are many parents in Dumbo, they are hoping to have a middle school built in the area so they don’t have to move to Park Slope or the burbs. Even in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment, many people in NYC do have two kids and even a dog. I hear that many people welcome more interaction with families and neighbors from Fort Greene, Farragut and downtown Brooklyn.

    BrooklynLove, why so sad?

  • Look…

    Please tell us how an all rental apartment building competes with owned apartments.

  • Look…

    Please tell us how an all rental apartment building competes with owned apartments.

  • Fact: people move out when their kids get older???
    This is a really young community. I don’t think we’ve been around long enough to establish that trend. We’re one of those families and don’t look at Park Slope as an option. We’re in Dumbo for the long haul. Love it.
    Hate the building though, and think Walentas is pretty greasy. The school is such a dirty trick.
    What attracted us to neighborhood is architecture and atmosphere. I’m sure thats the case for a lot of people. This building really takes it down a huge notch.

  • Fact: people move out when their kids get older???
    This is a really young community. I don’t think we’ve been around long enough to establish that trend. We’re one of those families and don’t look at Park Slope as an option. We’re in Dumbo for the long haul. Love it.
    Hate the building though, and think Walentas is pretty greasy. The school is such a dirty trick.
    What attracted us to neighborhood is architecture and atmosphere. I’m sure thats the case for a lot of people. This building really takes it down a huge notch.

  • There are middle school aged kids in the neighborhood. And it’s true that Dumbo is simply too young to state what kind of families live here and for how long. I think that so many of us love the area and hope to stay long-term.

    PS8 is overcrowded already. The new proposed middle school is quite small. If the middle school can’t take all of the neighborhood children, or if Dumbo and Vinegar Hill parents perceive that their children will be squeezed out or otherwise at risk then I wonder where this will go.

  • There are middle school aged kids in the neighborhood. And it’s true that Dumbo is simply too young to state what kind of families live here and for how long. I think that so many of us love the area and hope to stay long-term.

    PS8 is overcrowded already. The new proposed middle school is quite small. If the middle school can’t take all of the neighborhood children, or if Dumbo and Vinegar Hill parents perceive that their children will be squeezed out or otherwise at risk then I wonder where this will go.

  • “reality” — when it inevitably turns condo, tough guy. as almost all do. don’t come at me with ignorance, please. look it up first.

  • “reality” — when it inevitably turns condo, tough guy. as almost all do. don’t come at me with ignorance, please. look it up first.

  • “neighbor” — i have both lived and worked in dumbo for around 4 years now. i have seen maybe one kid i would consider “middle school aged.” stop it.

    guys, i am a real estate broker, ave been for about 20 years, all in nyc. trust me when i say it, this neighborhood will NOT sustain long term families, esp given the income levels. as the spae gets too small and the salaries get bigger, they always move to suburbs or brownstones. we are seeing it in dumbo as we speak. i personally know 5-6 families that have left or are in the process of leaving for just that reason IN THE LAST 3 MONTHS! based on my experience, this is a young professional transitional neighborhood. you can believe it or you can just argue the point, but if anyone has the industry insight on this topic i would think it would be me. yes, its a new neighborhood (by some accounts — many have lived here for years; but yes, in terms of the new dumbo, its in its early years), but trust me, i’ve seen the model 100s of times.

  • “neighbor” — i have both lived and worked in dumbo for around 4 years now. i have seen maybe one kid i would consider “middle school aged.” stop it.

    guys, i am a real estate broker, ave been for about 20 years, all in nyc. trust me when i say it, this neighborhood will NOT sustain long term families, esp given the income levels. as the spae gets too small and the salaries get bigger, they always move to suburbs or brownstones. we are seeing it in dumbo as we speak. i personally know 5-6 families that have left or are in the process of leaving for just that reason IN THE LAST 3 MONTHS! based on my experience, this is a young professional transitional neighborhood. you can believe it or you can just argue the point, but if anyone has the industry insight on this topic i would think it would be me. yes, its a new neighborhood (by some accounts — many have lived here for years; but yes, in terms of the new dumbo, its in its early years), but trust me, i’ve seen the model 100s of times.

  • “30 main” — i don’t even know how to reply. you are missing the overall point completely. no one point that i made above is determinative, but taken collectively, they comprise the overall truth of the matter. ok, whatever. all anyone likes to do on these comments is argue and disagree, so go ahead, it is inevitable. it matters not to me. my famly and i are moving out because we’ve run out of space. HA!

  • “30 main” — i don’t even know how to reply. you are missing the overall point completely. no one point that i made above is determinative, but taken collectively, they comprise the overall truth of the matter. ok, whatever. all anyone likes to do on these comments is argue and disagree, so go ahead, it is inevitable. it matters not to me. my famly and i are moving out because we’ve run out of space. HA!

  • ““neighbor” — i have both lived and worked in dumbo for around 4 years now. i have seen maybe one kid i would consider “middle school aged.” stop it.”

    There are several middle school aged children on my block and they don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. I know other families who have kids in 4th – 6th grade who also plan to stay long term. Some families may leave, but others want a city life and will stay, especially as the BBP takes shape and everyday car use + heating/cooling a big house look less and less desirable. There will be more and more children of all ages in this neighborhood as it grows and settles regardless of a percentage of 0-3 age children cycling in and out.

  • ““neighbor” — i have both lived and worked in dumbo for around 4 years now. i have seen maybe one kid i would consider “middle school aged.” stop it.”

    There are several middle school aged children on my block and they don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. I know other families who have kids in 4th – 6th grade who also plan to stay long term. Some families may leave, but others want a city life and will stay, especially as the BBP takes shape and everyday car use + heating/cooling a big house look less and less desirable. There will be more and more children of all ages in this neighborhood as it grows and settles regardless of a percentage of 0-3 age children cycling in and out.

  • does anybody have an update as to how the vote went last night?

  • does anybody have an update as to how the vote went last night?

  • My apartment view is the Jehovah’s witness building so I have nothing to loose… however I don’t want a bunch of idiot middle school kids running around the neighboor… rich white kids or poor farragut kids… they are all annoying.

  • My apartment view is the Jehovah’s witness building so I have nothing to loose… however I don’t want a bunch of idiot middle school kids running around the neighboor… rich white kids or poor farragut kids… they are all annoying.

  • Youth, Culture and education committee voted in favor 9-0 of including the school in the proposal.

    http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/5398#comments

  • Youth, Culture and education committee voted in favor 9-0 of including the school in the proposal.

    http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/5398#comments

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  • The proposed “school” in the building really won’t solve anything. It’s so small that it won’t come close to accommodating all of the families looking to place their kids in a middle school — it will only help a small percentage. So, the problem of not enough school space for kids will still exist. This Dock St. school is just a bandaid that will soon wear off.

    A more permanent solution is what Yassky is seeking — which is to find a better, larger space for a new school that can accommodate a greater number of kids. This is the way to go. Not some cramped little thing that will only be able to accept 1 kid out of every 100 that applies.

  • The proposed “school” in the building really won’t solve anything. It’s so small that it won’t come close to accommodating all of the families looking to place their kids in a middle school — it will only help a small percentage. So, the problem of not enough school space for kids will still exist. This Dock St. school is just a bandaid that will soon wear off.

    A more permanent solution is what Yassky is seeking — which is to find a better, larger space for a new school that can accommodate a greater number of kids. This is the way to go. Not some cramped little thing that will only be able to accept 1 kid out of every 100 that applies.

  • My feeling is that it all starts with the preserving of the majesty of the Brooklyn Bridge.
    If a school “needs” to be built in Dumbo, I ask, why there?? Why so high?? What right do we have in, arguably,disturbing its presence?

    If we believe that the above doesn’t matter, then go ahead and discuss whether we should have a school here. – My vote is still no. The school will do nothing to enhance the overall quality of life here, nor would anybody be asking for it, if Two Trees had not brought up the thought.

  • My feeling is that it all starts with the preserving of the majesty of the Brooklyn Bridge.
    If a school “needs” to be built in Dumbo, I ask, why there?? Why so high?? What right do we have in, arguably,disturbing its presence?

    If we believe that the above doesn’t matter, then go ahead and discuss whether we should have a school here. – My vote is still no. The school will do nothing to enhance the overall quality of life here, nor would anybody be asking for it, if Two Trees had not brought up the thought.

  • After reviewing the various materials I’ve been able to find, I’ve decided to oppose the Dock Street project. I’d still be interested in the Google Earth model that’s apparently floating around (I didn’t see it listed in the Google Earth directory).

  • After reviewing the various materials I’ve been able to find, I’ve decided to oppose the Dock Street project. I’d still be interested in the Google Earth model that’s apparently floating around (I didn’t see it listed in the Google Earth directory).

  • Farragut Houses IS in the neighborhood. A child who live there would have a shorter walk to the proposed school than a child a who lives in all but the closest parts of Brooklyn Heights.

    Get used to it: IT WOULD BE THEIR SCHOOL TOO. and there are plenty of school age children who live in Farragut.

  • Farragut Houses IS in the neighborhood. A child who live there would have a shorter walk to the proposed school than a child a who lives in all but the closest parts of Brooklyn Heights.

    Get used to it: IT WOULD BE THEIR SCHOOL TOO. and there are plenty of school age children who live in Farragut.

  • CB2 Land Use Committee rejected the proposal 7-6: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/51/31_51_sp_dock_rejected.html

    It now goes to the full CB for a vote in January.

  • CB2 Land Use Committee rejected the proposal 7-6: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/51/31_51_sp_dock_rejected.html

    It now goes to the full CB for a vote in January.

  • nice to have all the project kids come into the neighborhood

  • nice to have all the project kids come into the neighborhood

  • Hooray for the CB2 land use committee! Does the full board generally follow the vote of the committee? This is definitely a positive development for Dumbo.

  • Hooray for the CB2 land use committee! Does the full board generally follow the vote of the committee? This is definitely a positive development for Dumbo.

  • I was there and it seemed the opponents will stop at nothing, will say any lie to torpedo this wonderful opportunity for the community. These are people who are afraid of “imported teens” and are only interested in their real estate values. As for the BHA this seems like a vendetta on their part. Their position is not for the betterment of the community as their kids all go to the pricy private schools so they don’t see the critical need for this wonderful school. For my part I love the idea of this school in this inspirational setting and am appalled by attempts to squeeze more kids into the already overcrowded and outdated PS8 anex or some of the other wacky ideas Yassky and Stanton have dreamed up to support their wrongheaded opposition.

  • I was there and it seemed the opponents will stop at nothing, will say any lie to torpedo this wonderful opportunity for the community. These are people who are afraid of “imported teens” and are only interested in their real estate values. As for the BHA this seems like a vendetta on their part. Their position is not for the betterment of the community as their kids all go to the pricy private schools so they don’t see the critical need for this wonderful school. For my part I love the idea of this school in this inspirational setting and am appalled by attempts to squeeze more kids into the already overcrowded and outdated PS8 anex or some of the other wacky ideas Yassky and Stanton have dreamed up to support their wrongheaded opposition.

  • “da” — “this wonderful school,” really? Are you kidding? What do you know about “this wonderful school?” Do you know what the budget will be for the build-out? Do you know what the class sizes be? Do you know what the curriculum will be? What will the student/teacher ratio be? Will it have a gymnasium…athletic teams? Will it have an auditorium…school plays and concerts? Give us a break. You don’t know anything about “this wonderful school.” The hollow space being offered by Two Trees is a Trojan Horse…pure and simple. And it comes at a steep price if you ascribe any historical, architectural and/or aesthetic value to the Bridge. People used to make jokes about the Brooklyn Bridge being for sale. I guess we will find out whether the price tag is a modest-sized (at best) empty space in a nauseatingly non-descript rental building.

  • “da” — “this wonderful school,” really? Are you kidding? What do you know about “this wonderful school?” Do you know what the budget will be for the build-out? Do you know what the class sizes be? Do you know what the curriculum will be? What will the student/teacher ratio be? Will it have a gymnasium…athletic teams? Will it have an auditorium…school plays and concerts? Give us a break. You don’t know anything about “this wonderful school.” The hollow space being offered by Two Trees is a Trojan Horse…pure and simple. And it comes at a steep price if you ascribe any historical, architectural and/or aesthetic value to the Bridge. People used to make jokes about the Brooklyn Bridge being for sale. I guess we will find out whether the price tag is a modest-sized (at best) empty space in a nauseatingly non-descript rental building.

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  • im so glad I left Dumbo.