The Brooklyn Heights Association RSS feed BHA Community News, Events, and In Focus Updates en-us Copyright (C) 2011 The Brooklyn Heights Associateion Council Member Levin and Senator Squadron Support BHA and STVN in SV-1 Violation Lawsuit - Council Member Levin and Senator Squadron Support the BHA and STVN in SV-1 Violation Lawsuit <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA and Save The View Now jointly released the following press statement on February 9, 2016:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On February 4, following oral arguments in the BHA and Save the View Now&rsquo;s lawsuit regarding Pierhouse&rsquo;s intrusion into the Brooklyn Promenade&rsquo;s Special Scenic View District (&ldquo;SV-1&rdquo;), NYS Supreme Court Judge Knipel reserved judgment on Plaintiffs&rsquo; motion for a preliminary injunction and Defendants&rsquo; motion to dismiss in order to review the testimony and materials submitted.</p> <p>In support of the lawsuit by the BHA and Save the View Now, Council Member Stephen Levin, a Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) Board member, submitted an affidavit that stated in part: &ldquo;I am very dismayed that DOB and BBPC staff would, in my opinion, misinterpret the clear language of the Zoning Resolution (SV-1) &hellip;.. I am also very dismayed that, to my best recollection, BBPC staff never brought that issue to the attention of the BBPC Board&rdquo;.</p> <p>Senator Daniel Squadron also issued a joint statement with Councilmember Levin that concluded: &ldquo;At the request of our constituents, including Save the View Now and the Brooklyn Heights Association, we have reviewed the Zoning Resolution establishing the Scenic View District and the SV-1, as well as calculations from the developer and city pertaining to the Pier 1 project. It is our view that SV-1 zoning rules have been incorrectly applied. This incorrect application should be addressed, and compliance with the SV-1 zoning rules should be ensured.&quot;</p> <p>The BHA and STVN are grateful to Councilmember Levin and Senator Squadron for their support.</p> <p>Rather than address the merits of the case, the Defendants&rsquo; argue that the BHA and STVN are too late in bringing the lawsuit, which is simply not the case. Indeed, when the BHA and STVN&rsquo;s attorney informed the City on November 25, 2015 that we would commence legal action, Sarah Kogel-Smucker, a Corporation Counsel attorney, responded: &ldquo;I see this is your &ldquo;final notice&rdquo; but urge against rushing to court next week as it is unripe.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> First the City states that it is too early to bring our lawsuit, then it argues before the court that it is too late. The Defendants are simply hoping that their illegal changes to the project plans for Brooklyn Bridge Park will go unnoticed. This type of behavior by government agencies is unacceptable.</p> <p>After reviewing the full record, it is our hope that Judge Knipel will allow the case to proceed on the merits and will find that Defendants have violated SV-1. <br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Member Levin and Senator Squadron Support BHA and STVN in SV-1 Violation Lawsuit/ Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 DOT MOVING FORWARD WITH A PROJECTED 10-YEAR REHABILITATION OF THE BQE. The project will address the deterioration of the BQE, first opened in 1954, which is suffering the ills of old age and overuse. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>It comes as no surprise that the BQE, first opened in 1954, is urgently in need of rehabilitation. The daily pounding of&nbsp;traffic, which now exceeds 140,000 vehicles (up from 123,000 in 2006) has taken its toll on the highway's many structural elements. Trucks comprise 17% of its volume during peak periods and&nbsp;subject Heights' residents to excessive noise and vibration in their homes. After years of discussion, the BQE&rsquo;s rehabilitation process is now beginning to move forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>The NYC Department of Transportation briefed&nbsp;the BHA and other community stakeholders on April 20, 2016 on&nbsp;the projected 10-year BQE Rehabilitation Project. &nbsp;The $1.7 billion project will extend from the Columbia Street exchange south of Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street,&nbsp;just north of the&nbsp;Manhattan Bridge, and will&nbsp;include 21 bridges as well as the triple cantilever under the Promenade.</p> <p>Because much preliminary work is needed by DOT to analyze conditions, perform design, award contracts, and coordinate with other agencies and the community, DOT is projecting a construction period between&nbsp;2021 and 2026. But as we know, these timeframes are notoriously subject to change.</p> <p>Despite an earlier planning effort between 2006 and 2011 by New York State DOT, which considered six tunnel options, NYC DOT has ruled out a tunnel due to the need to maintain the BQE&rsquo;s connections to the local street network and the East River bridges. These connections would not be possible with a tunnel configuration.</p> <p>DOT&rsquo;s planning will&nbsp;take into account&nbsp;meeting current highway standards and maintaining traffic during construction, the BQE&rsquo;s proximity to adjacent buildings and transit structures, and environmental concerns. Once completed, the rehabilitated BQE will provide for a safer,quieter roadway, and new ramps, among other improvements.</p> <p>The BHA will work closely with DOT and other community stakeholders to ensure that the project addresses neighborhood concerns, including mitigating impacts during construction and improves the way the BQE integrates with adjacent communities.&nbsp; It will provide Heights residents with ongoing updates and notices of public meetings.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>DOT's briefing report can be found <a href="">HERE</a>.</p> </body> </html> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 MAY 4th TOWN HALL MEETING ON BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AT ST. ANN & THE HOLY TRINITY CHRUCH. The community is invited to receive an update and ask questions on contentious issues regarding obstruction of views from the Promenade and unnecessary development. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA and its coalition partners &ndash; Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, People for Green Space Foundation and Save the View Now - are inviting the community to a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, May 4th from 7 &ndash; 9 PM at St. Ann &amp; the Holy Trinity Church at 157 Montague Street, entrance on Clinton Street.&nbsp;</p> <p>Attendees will&nbsp;hear an update on three contentious development issues within Brooklyn Bridge Park:</p> <p>1) the obstruction of the views of the Brooklyn Bridge by Pierhouse,</p> <p>2) the violation of the Scenic View District (SV-1), and</p> <p>3) the unnecessary towers proposed for Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue.</p> <p>&nbsp;The status of the ongoing lawsuits with regard to SV-1 and Pierhouse will also be reviewed.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 WATCHTOWER RESIDENTS TO MOVE OUT BEGINNING MAY 2. After 107 years in the Heights, the Watchtower has announced that they will relocate nearly 1,000 of their residents upstate between May 2 and January 2017. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The Watchtower, which&nbsp;moved into Brooklyn Heights 107 years ago and greatly expanded its presence by acquiring more properties in succeeding years, is shortly&nbsp;moving out of&nbsp;many north Brooklyn Heights buildings as part of its ongoing disinvestment of its Brooklyn Heights real estate holdings.&nbsp;</p> <p>Beginning&nbsp;May 2nd&nbsp;through January 2017,&nbsp;the Watchtower will relocate nearly 1,000 residents, as well as hundreds of headquarters&rsquo; workers, to its upstate facilities. To&nbsp;inform the community&nbsp;of the relocation, Watchtower representatives shared&nbsp;with the BHA&nbsp;its plans to minimize disruption to the community.</p> <p>The seven dormitory properties being vacated are at 21 Clark Street, 80 and 86 Willow Street, and 97, 107, 119 and 124 Columbia Heights. During the above mentioned timeframe, various offices from 25, 30 and 50 Columbia Heights and 55 and 67 Furman Street will also be moved upstate.&nbsp;</p> <p>The tunnels connecting its seven dormitory buildings will enable the Watchtower to perform the move from just&nbsp;three locations. At 21 Clark Street, the Watchtower is seeking to establish a No Parking Zone extending 85 feet on the south side of Clark to the corner of Hicks Street during the relocation period. This zone will affect parking on that side of the street that is only permitted on Wednesdays. &nbsp;A second location will be through the loading dock on the Orange Street side of 107 Columbia Heights, situated between Willow Street and Columbia Heights. The third location, the Willow Street entrance to 21 Clark Street, will only be used if necessary.</p> <p>Beginning May 2nd, six households per day will be moved using 26-foot trucks, five days per week; as each truck can accommodate two households, there will be&nbsp;three trucks&nbsp;daily. Then starting September 1st, six households will be moved six days per week, again using three trucks per day. The loading period will be in the morning hours, so that the residents being relocated can occupy their new apartment upstate the same day.</p> <p>The&nbsp;trucks,&nbsp;owned and operated by the Watchtower, will be loaded by hand without the use of&nbsp;fork lifts. At the 21 Clark Street location, the belongings being moved will be kept within the interior of the building so that pedestrians will have clear passage along the sidewalk. The Watchtower will ensure that&nbsp;sidewalks are unimpeded for pedestrians.</p> <p>The move out from the headquarters&rsquo; buildings will be from Furman Street, and as with the residential move, 26-foot trucks rather than tractor trailers will be used.&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to the commencement of these relocations, the Watchtower will also undertake a door-to-door campaign to inform immediate neighbors of the moving plans.</p> <p>Should Heights residents have questions or complaints&nbsp;prior to or during&nbsp;the move, they should call 718-560-5000, the Watchtower&rsquo;s main phone number, and ask for Robert Alexander.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 PARKING LIMITED, LANE CLOSED AND SIDEWALK NARROWED ON COLUMBIA HEIGHTS ON UPCOMING TUESDAYS, APRIL 19 - MAY 3. In preparation for the upcoming rehabilitation of the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street, DOT will perform inspections on two Tuesdays between April 19 and May 3 between Cranberry <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) will close travel lanes on Columbia Heights from&nbsp;Cranberry Street to Middagh Street&nbsp;on two of the three Tuesdays between April 19 and May 3 from 9 AM to 3 PM.&nbsp; DOT will be inspecting the bridges along the BQE from Atlantic Avenue to Sands Street in preparation for a major rehabilitation of the highway and the bridges in this area.&nbsp; These inspections are the beginning phase of the project, whose full scope and timetable have yet to be established.</p> <p>The inspection work will occupy one lane and part of the sidewalk on Columbia Heights on those two Tuesdays.&nbsp; The parking restriction will enable traffic to travel on the remaining lane.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>DOT also announced&nbsp;it will be closing lanes on the BQE between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street during early morning hours to perform inspections of the highway structure between April 14 and May 2.&nbsp; These closures will be on the eastbound roadway, westbound roadway, or both.</p> <p>A single lane will be closed on the BQE starting at 12:01 AM and a second lane will be closed Tuesdays through Saturdays at 1:00 AM and Sundays at 2:00 AM.&nbsp; Any Monday morning closures will be a single lane only.&nbsp; All lanes will reopen by 5:00 AM Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM on Saturday and 9:00 AM on Sunday.&nbsp; At least one lane of traffic in each direction will remain open at all times.</p> </body> </html> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 NATIONAL GRID WILL INSTALL GAS SAFETY EQUIPMENT IN 1 AND 2-FAMILY HOMES IN THE HEIGHTS IN THE COMING WEEKS. Owners of these homes should expect to receive a letter a week or two before work is planned to begin. Homeowners must schedule an appointment. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>National Grid and its contractor, Hallen Construction,&nbsp;will be installing new equipment in 1 and 2-family homes throughout Brooklyn&nbsp;Heights in the coming weeks.&nbsp; The devices will allow emergency responders to quickly turn off gas service in the&nbsp;event of an emergency.</p> <p>National Grid&nbsp;will send a letter to&nbsp;the affected homeowners a week or two before the work is expected to begin in order to schedule an appointment.&nbsp; While the work will be performed at no charge to the homeowner, the homeowner MUST schedule an appointment.&nbsp; If the homeowner does not schedule an appointment, National Grid will interrupt gas service at the contractor's convenience.</p> <p>Hallen Construction will need access to the gas meter, the gas service valve, and all gas appliances in the home.&nbsp; A clear space of at least 4 square feet is required in front of the meter and the service valve.&nbsp;&nbsp;It will take 2-4 hours for the work to be completed.&nbsp; Before Hallen leaves the home, it will restore the gas service and relight&nbsp;the appliances.&nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 00:00:00 -0400 PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING VOTING EXTENDS THROUGH APRIL 3. Participatory budgeting is an opportunity for residents above the age of 14 to vote on allocating $1 million or more to capital projects in their City Council district. This year, residents can vote among 15 projects, including one for PS 261 <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The annual participatory budgeting process extends&nbsp;through Sunday, April 3rd. Participatory Budgeting is an opportunity for residents (above the age of 14) to vote on how to allocate $1 million or more on capital budget projects in their City Council district.&nbsp; Residents can cast their ballot for more than one project.</p> <p>This year, among the proposed 15 projects is a $140,000 project to fund new computers at PS 261, which serves the southeast corner of Brooklyn Heights. The school has upgraded the electrical system in the library but more funds are needed now to purchase the computers. The description of this project and others, as well as voting sites and their schedules, can be found <a href="">here</a>.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>The nearest voting sites are PS8 from 8-11 am on March 30 &amp; 31 and Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, from 9 am&ndash;5 pm, March 28 - April 2.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0400 BHA AND PARTNERS DOCUMENT THAT PIER 6 DEVELOPMENT IS UNNECCESSARY DUE TO $800 MILLION IN SURPLUS TAX REVENUE. The BHA and its coalition partners are releasing three reports on February 29th demonstrating that surplus revenues over 50 years will negate the need for further Pier 6 development. <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA and coalition partners are issuing three reports on Monday, February 29, 2016&nbsp;that demonstrate that existing Brooklyn Bridge Park development will generate $800 million in surplus funds over the next 50 years. As a result, the BHA and partners have concluded that no residential or commercial development on Pier 6 is necessary, allowing for a significant addition to parkland space and for the creation of a welcoming, and desperately needed, park entrance at Atlantic Avenue.</p> <p>The BHA, with its partners People for Green Space Foundation and Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, commissioned two independent reports by nationally recognized experts, one in marine engineering and one in commercial real estate. These firms found that Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) has dramatically underestimated the property tax revenue it will receive from existing development in the Park and has recently altered its many-year planned approach to pier maintenance to adopt a plan that requires an unnecessary increase in immediate expenses and a shorter useful life.</p> <p>These findings are significant because the BHA had only agreed to support housing in the Park in 2006 if it was necessary to support the Park. That understanding was explicitly incorporated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and General Project Plan. It was clear then, and continues to be clear today, that no housing should be built on Pier 6 if the revenue is not needed to build or maintain the Park. The reports issued today show that no additional revenue is needed. The extraordinary growth of real estate values in Brooklyn and at the Park itself has brought expected tax revenues to levels far surpassing original estimates.</p> <p>The BHA is hopeful that the BBPC will use the opportunity provided by these fact-based findings to re-engage with the community as had been the case in the early stages of planning. The BHA and other community organizations played a significant role in park design, and we call upon the BBPC to take the needs of the surrounding communities into consideration once again.</p> <p>Community groups surrounding the Park and our elected officials have been working together for more than 18 months to ensure that the fundamental commitment to limit development to only that which is necessary is kept and that the BBPC account for the huge increases in real estate values in its financial projections. These reports are a major outcome of that effort.</p> <p>The BHA will provide updates as this issue develops<br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Sun, 28 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 BHA SEEKING AN EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT. The part-time position will require a 20-25 hour weekly commitment and offer a flexible schedule. It is available April 1, 2016 <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA is seeking to fill a part-time Executive Assistant position, which is a 20-25 hour weekly commitment with a flexible schedule. The position, which will become available on April 1, 2016, will report directly to the Executive Director.</p> <p>The Executive Assistant will be generally responsible for daily office functions that assist the Executive Director, help support the Board of Governors, and contribute to fulfilling the mission of the BHA. It will involve limited evening and weekend responsibilities.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Among the Executive Assistant's specific responsibilities are: managing daily office functions, including mail, phone and email inquiries from BHA members; maintaining the membership database and assisting with membership retention and development; supporting fundraising activities and special event planning; and social media communications.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Click <a href="">here</a> for a detailed job description.</p> <p>The BHA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.</p> </body> </html> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE "BACH IN THE HEIGHTS" CONCERT ON MARCH 20. The BHA is sponsoring the Bach in the Heights Chorus and Orchestra performance of Arias and Choruses from "The Saint Matthew Passion" by Johann Sebastian Bach on Sunday, March 20 at 3 PM at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church at 125 <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA and Bach in the Heights Baroque Chorus and Orchestra will present Arias and Choruses from &quot;The Saint Matthew Passion&quot; by Johann Sebastian Bach on Sunday, March 20th at 3 PM at Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church at 125 Henry Street, Brooklyn.</p> <p>Conducted by Heights resident Edward Houser, Bach in the Heights is composed of singers and instrumentalists who have studied at top music schools - Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, Curtis and Eastman - and now perform with New York's major performing ensembles.</p> <p>Their recent performances in the Heights of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Easter Oratorio, Magnificat and Orchestral Concertos delighted local audiences and charmed the local press. Now they are coming &quot;bach&quot; for their only spring performance.</p> <p>Advanced tickets at $16 can be purchased online <a href="">HERE</a>.&nbsp;After March 18, tickets will be available for $20 by cash or check at the door on the day of the concert.</p> <p>For serious Bach lovers, a limited number of Patron Level tickets at $100 are also available <a href="">online</a> through March 18. Ticketholders at the Patron Level are guaranteed premier seats at the front of the sanctuary and are invited to a special reception after the concert at the Heights Casino, 75 Montague Street, from 5:30 &ndash; 7 pm. Cocktails and hors d&rsquo;oeuvres will be served with a lively and entertaining musical accompaniment.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 BROOKLYN D.A. THOMPSON TO SPEAK AT BHA ANNUAL MEETING ON FEB. 24. The Annual Meeting will begin at 7 pm at St. Francis College’s Founders Hall at 180 Remsen Street with a featured address by D.A. Thompson speaking on “Keeping Brooklyn Safe in an Equal and Just System." <html dir="ltr"> <head> <title></title> </head> <body> <p>The BHA Annual Meeting at 7 pm on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at St. Francis College&rsquo;s Founders Hall at 180 Remsen Street will feature Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth A. Thompson. He will be speaking on &ldquo;Keeping Brooklyn Safe in an Equal and Just System,&rdquo; a topic that has taken on added resonance as community policing policies, sentencing reform, and the exoneration of wrongfully convicted individuals are issues that confront New York City and the nation.</p> <p>Doors will open at 6:30 pm. D.A. Thompson will be speaking at 7 pm, which will be followed by the business portion of the Annual Meeting.</p> <p>This year, the Martha Atwater Award will be presented to Steve Guterman, founder of Save the View Now, with additional Community Awards given to the Whitman Owners Corporation, the board of 75 Henry Street, for its decision to not sell Pineapple Walk; Toba Potosky, the Founder and President of the Cadman Park Conservancy; and Mark Lahm, Owner of Henry&rsquo;s End Restaurant.</p> <p>Please come hear the presentation by D.A. Thompson and show your support of this year&rsquo;s recipients of the BHA&rsquo;s Annual Awards. Refreshments will be served immediately following the Annual Meeting in the Callahan Center.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </body> </html> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500