Councilman negotiated with city, developer
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A plan to dramatically alter North Brooklyn’s waterfront with the construction of high-rise buildings will actually result in some good things for the Greenpoint community, according to City Councilman Stephen Levin, who said he negotiated with the city and with the developer and won several important concessions.
The City Council voted to approve the plans for the development, called Greenpoint Landing, last week. The council’s vote was the final step in the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which governs land use matters.
Levin (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) announced “numerous community benefits” that he said were achieved for the Greenpoint community as a result of the negotiations, including the siting of a new public school for the neighborhood as well as the designation of a nearby section of the community as an Urban Development Action Area.
NYcurbed.com reported that the Greenpoint Landing development includes the construction of 10 high-rise towers and 5,000 housing units.
Levin said he also won other concessions, including more open space on the property, additional affordable housing units and transportation improvements for the community, in negotiations with the Greenpoint Landing Associates (GLA), and the city.
“Throughout the ULURP process, I have listened diligently to the concerns of the Greenpoint community. As the representative and a resident of Greenpoint, I share their concerns about the lack of infrastructure and open space, as well as the environmental issues facing our neighborhood,” Levin said.
“After long and detailed discussions with the developer, Greenpoint will finally be getting the open space and affordable housing that it deserves,” the councilman said.
Due to the city’s 2005 rezoning of North Brooklyn, the Greenpoint Landing project can be built as-of-right, meaning that the developers are free to go up as high as they wish. The land use vote taken at the council dealt only with two small parcels of the project.
The agreement includes: increased funding for Newtown Barge Park, as well as a pledge by the city to conduct a comprehensive transportation plan for Community Board 1.
“Greenpoint is the place I call home and I cherish it immensely,” Levin said. “By reaching agreements to increase funding for Newtown Barge Park, build permanently affordable housing, conduct a CB1 transportation plan, and fund a local community space, we are bringing real benefits directly to the neighborhood that will have a positive impact for Greenpointers."
Leaders of neighborhood organizations said they supported the agreement.
“The 2005 rezoning came with many promises. The promise of development and change were quick to be fulfilled. Open space, affordable housing and other promises have been slower to come. With this agreement, real and meaningful benefits for residents of Greenpoint - new and old - have finally been realized,” said Ward Dennis, co-chairman of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth.
Dewey Thompson and Christine Holowacz of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) issued a statement of support of Levin’s efforts.
“We are pleased with the fact that Councilman Levin framed his negotiation with the community’s overall unhappiness about the way the 2005 rezoning has been implemented by the city. GWAPP will continue to fight for what was promised to the community in the 2005 rezoning, but in the meantime we are very happy with the money secured for Newtown Barge Park and the agreement to convene an environmental task force to address the environmental concerns of the community,” the statement reads.