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Canarsie Urged to Speak Out Again Overdevelopment

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With a town hall on zoning scheduled by Borough President Marty Markowitz for May 31st in Marine Park, one area elected official is urging Canarsie residents to make their voices heard in the struggle against over-development. City Councilmember Lewis Fidler, speaking at the May meeting of the United Canarsie South Civic Association (UCSCA), which was held at the Hebrew Educational Society, East 95th Street and Seaview Avenue, asked his listeners to add their voices to his by speaking out at the town hall meeting, which will be held at Marine Park Junior High School, 1925 Stuart Street, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The meeting is the second such that Markowitz has held. The first, earlier in May, took place in Bensonhurst. “Someone stand up and say, ‘Down-zone Canarsie,’” suggested Fidler. “My belief is that the squeaky wheel is going to get the grease, and I can’t squeak alone.” Rezoning has been a major topic in much of Brooklyn. A massive rezoning of Bay Ridge, fueled by massive resident discontent over the area’s changing streetscape, was completed in March by the Department of City Planning (DCP), and the rezoning of portions of Bensonhurst is likely to be completed shortly. “We are moving along on down-zoning,” noted Fidler. “Clearly, what City Planning is doing is sweeping southern Brooklyn from west to east. They are now working on Board 15, but they have had preliminary meetings with me regarding Board 18, and I have, in fact, asked that all of Canarsie be down-zoned, before they continue to take particularly some of our older, more historic homes, rip them down and drop a three-story condo in their place.” Particularly vulnerable are free-standing homes on larger-than-average lots, where the underlying zoning would allow a multi-family building to be constructed in place of a one or two-family residence. In Canarsie, over the past few years, there has been a building boom, as many of the area’s homes have gone under the wrecking ball and new condominium development has replaced them. Among the locations in Canarsie that have seen such changes are the Knights of Columbus property at East 95th Street and Conklin Avenue, where seven homes were built. Another seven homes were built at East 92nd Street and Conklin Avenue where a large old house once stood. In the area of Church Lane, near Canarsie Cemetery, attached brick homes were constructed. At East 85th Street and Avenue J, one house was torn down and five new homes were built. The resulting increase in population puts pressure on the infrastructure – schools, public transportation, sewer services and the like are all strained by the increasing demand. The issue is a pressing one, remarked Neal Duncan, the president of UCSCA, in a subsequent interview. “We started shouting about it,” he recalled, “but now all the meetings are in Marine Park and Bensonhurst. We would definitely like to see a town hall meeting in Canarsie,” Duncan stressed.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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