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Carroll Gardens is exorcizing one of its demons this week with the help of the New York City Department of Buildings.
The DOB has slapped a stop work order on 333 Carroll Street — otherwise known as “hell house” — and is requiring developers to adhere to 50-foot height limitations outlined in the new Carroll Gardens rezoning plan approved last month.
“Today we are seeing the voice of the community in action,” New York City Councilman Bill de Blasio said.“Stopping the 333 Carroll Street development from becoming another out-of-scale development is an important step in protecting the historic character of this wonderful neighborhood.”
At close to 70 feet tall,with an 8-unit penthouse stuck on top, the converted Regency Service Carts building, located between Hoyt and Bonds streets, has long been a source of consternation in the low-rise brownstone community.
“That building is a horrific eyesore and a slap to everyone who lives on that block,” said Triada Samaras, Carroll Gardens resident and member of the grassroots organization CORD (Coalition for Respectful Development).
Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman openly rejoiced upon learning about the DOB’s action.
“Hallelujah,” Hammerman declared. “This community has been engaged in a protracted battle the last few years to get the zoning changes that conform to the built character of the neighborhood. This [building] was a shining example of what the neighborhood did not want to see.”
Samaras says that she is gratified by the DOB action but attributed the move to the work of an energized and highly motivated citizenry fed up with overdevelopment.
“The climate is improving because citizens are demanding more,” Samaras said.
The developers of the site now have two options, according to the DOB: revise their building plans, or appeal to the Board of Standards and Appeals for a variance that allows them to maintain the height of the existing structure.
Hammerman is hopeful that the DOB’s action will deter other developers from trying to construct projects that do not conform to Carroll Gardens’ existing profile.
“This will definitely send a message out there that this community means business when it comes to preserving its neighborhood character,” he said.
De Blasio, the newpublic advocate-elect, hopes that it will, pointing out that there are still roughly 13 blocks in Downtown Brooklyn that have zoning regulations comparable to Midtown Manhattan,
“This is a win for the residents of Carroll Gardens and clearly sends a message to developers citywide,” said de Blasio.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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