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Just too tall for the neighbors - Alternative plan for Gowanus advanced

Already feeling besieged by large, out-of-context buildings from within, now Carroll Gardens has to worry about the prospect of looming towers from without.

Specifically, the 12-story towers Toll Brothers would like to construct along the Gowaus Canal.

Architects John Hatheway and Chris McVoy warned the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association on Monday night that the proposed Toll Brothers site at 363-365 Bond Street would not only create a concrete canyon out of the Gowanus Canal, it would also cast dark shadows over their traditional low-rise community.

In a provocative presentation, the architects illustrated how the rise of at least two 145-foot tall towers – plus rooftop bulkheads – would intrude upon the blessed vistas presently enjoyed at places like Carroll Park and 2nd Street.

For homeowners who put as much stock into blue skies and cotton clouds as they do brick and mortar, that intrusion is intolerable.

“I don’t think this rush to accommodate one developer is beneficial to the whole neighborhood,” Hatheway said.

In an effort to counter the Toll Brothers proposal, the architects are advocating an alternative development plan along the Gowanus Canal that would cap new construction at seven stories with a maximum height of 70 feet.

According to the architects, their plan would still provide Toll Brothers with roughly the same amount of buildable square footage as their present proposal.

They face significant opposition, however, from both neighbors and City Councilmember Bill de Blasio who favor building big in an effort to secure the greatest amount of “affordable” housing possible.

“It’s not what you or I wants, it’s what de Blasio wants,” one angry resident declared.

Opponents charge that giving the green light to build big on Bond Street would only open up the door wider for other developers looking to justify their non-contextual buildings inside Carroll Gardens.

Said McVoy, “It’s all about setting a precedent.

Others like CORD member Rita Miller, question the viability of high-priced condos in the presently dismal economic climate.

Still others maintain that the land around the Gowanus Canal should be converted to a green buffer to protect their homes against storm surges and floods.

Community Board 6 is expected to vote on the Toll Brothers application next month.

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