City Council Approves Demolition of Historic PS 133
From local advocate SJ Avery:
As you have probably heard by now, on Tuesday, the City Council voted to approve the SCA’s plan for PS 133. Below you will see the votes in the subcommittee, the committee and the full Council. As you will observe, at least one local councilman who said he was going to vote against the plan voted for it.
We understand that the Council has asked for some considerations related to their approval, related to the DEC being involved in review of the site and more public input as the plan progresses, but we do not have final language on that now – as soon as we do, we will make it available. Those council members who voted against the plan deserve our thanks – and those who voted for it… well, some are running for citywide office and I, for one, will remember how they voted.
The vote in sub-committee (Landmarks, Public Sitting, and Maritime Uses) was 6-2, with Barron and Mendez voting against the PS 133 item.
The Vote in full committee (Land Use) was 18-3, with Barron, Mendez and Avella voting against it.
In the full Council, the final vote count was 46 to 4. Avella, Barron, James and Mendez all voted against it.
Many thanks to all who worked so hard on this issue – and for many of us, a new round of “civic engagement” is just beginning. Once there is more time to digest just what the Council recommendations were, and what happens next, we will meet to talk about next steps
Many, many thanks to all the individuals who worked so hard on this issue – and a shout out to organizations like Park Slope Civic Council, Park Slope Neighbors, the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Historic Districts Council, Baltic Street Community Garden, Green Guerrillas; the Flatbush Gardener, New York City Community Garden Coalition, and the Brooklyn Community Garden Coalition for taking public positions in opposition to the plan. It has been a really remarkable coming together of people and groups around a strong belief that communities should not be passive subjects to the agendas of governmental entities – we moved the issue to the point where local papers were talking about the SCA’s “highly controversial plan”, as opposed to talking about hysterical residents and gardeners.
Again, we have come a very long way in a very short time and done so with integrity – I’m very proud to have been a part of this truly grassroots and inclusive movement – and most definitely will be seeing you around the neighborhood.
SJ and the coalition did a terrific job of mobilizing against this flawed proposal, but due to political indifference to some very real environmental, preservation and civil rights concerns, the project was rammed through. HDc spoke with CM Bill De Blasio several times before the vote and he was trying to rally both support from his colleagues and concessions from the the School Construction Authority. Through his and other’s efforts, the SCa issued this letter to CM Melinda Katz, Chair of Land Use:
To say that we are disappointed in the leadership of CM David Yassky, who represents this school would be both an understatement and untrue. While Mr. Yassky represents the largest number of designated landmark properties in Brooklyn, over the years he has proven to be tone-deaf to preservation issues. Although he has supported commuity-driven preservation efforts in Dumbo (both the designation of the historic district and opposing the Dock Street proposal), he has been absent from many preservation conversations in Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope and other parts of his district and either unhelpful or hostile to efforts in Williamsburg (such as 184 Kent Avenue, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Rezoning & the Hecla Iron Works). He has been of no help on the Admiral’s Row Houses (which he represents, not CM Letitia James) and as memory serves, he was absent on the debate about the Purchase Building. It is a true missed opportunity for an elected official who represents such a historic and preservation-minded district to be unresponsive on the preservation issue. Hopefully, his replacement (Mr. Yassky is giving up his seat to run for Comptroller) will be more attuned – so far, indications are good that whoever wins will be – all the candidates for the 33rd District who were contacted were opposed to the SCA’s plan.