Wednesday, July 12, 2006
South Slopers Rally
I attended the press conference yesterday held in front of the plywood construction fence surrounding the site of Isaac Katan's contested 11 story condo building, located at 182 15th Street. The rally was organized by The South Park Slope Community Group and The Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights in order to call attention to the upcoming ruling by the Board of Standards and Appeals, as to whether the future building will be vested or "grandfathered in" under the old, much more generous, 1961 R6 Zoning rules. A good number of our elected officials and/or their representatives were present.
Community Board 7 members Randy Peers, Jeremy Laufer, and John Burns were there.
Assemblemember Jim Brennan and Councilmembers Tony Avella and Sara Gonzalez, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez....candidate Chris Owens, members of the Carpenters Union..award winning activists Aaron Brashear and Mic Holwin... all showed up to voice their concern as to whether the B.S.A. would "do the right thing" and uphold the community mandated downzoning.
Clearly, in their vigilance, and at great expense to themselves, (legal fees now topping $70,000) these private citizens groups may successfully hold the members of the B.S.A. publicly accountable to what otherwise would have most likely been an open and shut ruling by a board of appointed bureaucrats, in favor of another wealthy developer. This at the expense of the community.
I mean to say, that the community, by putting their money where their mouth is, has dragged this whole B.S.A. process out, kicking and screaming I might add, into the light of day for the public's inspection. "Hey everyone look, see this is how the game is being played". It looks like someone has actually been reading the rule book finally, and more importantly, reading it out loud to the members of the Board.
So now, even if the power$ that be require that the Board should continue to reward builders for illegal and unsafe building practices, (like it recently did by vesting 400 15th St.) than at least everyone will now know the deck has been stacked, and stop wasting their time and money behaving so idealistically, with their heads full of that justice thingy.
Let's hope the times are a changin' in favor of the community. Final word. In what can only be described as a reconcilling act of passing the olive branch, It was rumored, Howard Hornstein, Katan's attorney, personally blew up the inflatable rat before the rally started. Peace.