Stable Brooklyn Community Group Returns!

Hi neighbors!

It’s been a really long time since our last big community mobilization and I see that I allowed this website to really lay fallow. A bunch of the PDFs and images are missing. Don’t worry! I’ll fix it all so we can keep learning and working together. Here’s a few oldies but goodies that those who were not with us in 2005 might want to check out:

The Yahoo! group should still be active. Feel free to try it out. Click to join our StableBrooklyn Yahoo! Group

Welcome to any new(er) neighbors. I know we have a lot of new folks living around here who probably don’t know the back-story, so I’ll do my best to bring people up to speed as we go along.

In the meantime, if you missed tonight’s community meeting, here’s the gist:

  1. The stables: Councilmember Brad Lander has committed to helping preserve the horse stables for the community and for Brooklyn generally. While financial troubles and the renewed threat of development may have spelled the end of horse riding in Prospect Park, there is hope that a deal will be reached between the city and the stables so that the city would become the owner of the land and make it part of the Parks Department, dedicated to horses for the forseeable future. At the meeting, everyone in attendance was in agreement that keeping the stables in the neighborhood would be fantastic. Thanks, Brad!
  2. 57 Caton development plan: The owner/developer of the big warehouse at 57 Caton was there to present their plan for development. The site is currently zoned C8-2, which is a commercial district for certain use groups, like manufacturing and automotive. Of note, the entire stretch of Caton Ave and part of Coney Island Avenue (including stables and the big church) are zoned the same. The developer is proposing re-zoning the single lot to R7A, the same as the Kestral (where the Little Grey Barn used to be) and building a 107 unit residential development with a commercial overlay (commercial on the ground floor). The rendering showed two 9 story blocks of apartments, one facing Ocean Parkway and the other facing Caton Place with a courtyard for residents in between. The commercial space would front Caton Place, along with the service and driveway entrances for underground parking. People brought up a lot of concerns regarding height, traffic, commercial use, infrastructure, mix of apartment sizes, etc. It was unclear from some of the questions if everyone in attendance understood that the lot is not currently zoned for this proposed building. The developer was there to tell everyone what they were hoping to build IF the lot were rezoned. To re-zone, it would have to go through a ULURP process (just as we did with our community plan before).
  3. The parking lot of Calvary Cathedral of Praise: there was not a lot of information on this, but it appears that it was sold to JEMB Realty for $15 million dollars last spring when the church was having some financial difficulties. The speculation is that no one pays that much money for a piece of land if they don’t plan to build something big on it. Again, it has the same zoning, C8-2, as the rest of the street, and no proposal has yet surfaced regarding what they might want to do with it.

Interestingly, this stretch of Caton Place was exactly the part that got left out of our community plan back in 2009. At the time, when we spoke with City Planning, we were afraid that if we made any change to the zoning, particularly if it was residential, it would put the stables in jeopardy, so we decided to leave it as is, knowing that the newly bordering R7A zone was likely to stand as a domino waiting to tip the zoning that way. It appeared to be a fairly stagnant block, with two churches, a parking lot, and a working warehouse. But times change. It seems like it is time for the community to get ahead of this again and to be proactive in thinking about how we might like to see this area developed. Zoning is really the only way to shape the future of development and zoning is not changed willy-nilly (at least not if communities take the time to think together about it).

No decisions have been made, no building plans have been filed. The area is all zoned C8-2 at present. We need to get together and think through what we WANT in our neighborhood and encourage sensible development that works for everyone, both present and future.

–Mandy Harris

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