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The changing face of Mill Island

CB18 says no to condo project

Brooklyn Daily

For residents of Mill Island, six stories is three too many.

Residents blasted a developer’s plan to build a six-story condominium on Mill Avenue near Strickland Avenue, claiming that the leafy neighborhood should have one- and two-family homes — or none at all.

“We’ll accept nothing other than one- or two-family homes,” said Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) at a recent Community Board 18 meeting, where developer Mark Scharf’s plans were presented. “We rezoned this property 15 years ago in order to make sure the character of the community was maintained. We’re not going to allow this aberration to go in.”

Attorney Joshua Rinesmith, representing Scharf, showed off blueprints for the proposed 84-unit building, which will feature commercial space appropriate for a small retail outlet or restaurant.

Rinesmith also came armed with a sob story, telling CB18 members that various hardships in remediating the contaminated property, which was used for various manufacturing purposes over the years — including gun powder manufacturing and petroleum storage — left an environmental quagmire that requires more than $1 million in rehabilitation.

Because of these hardships, building low-density, one- and two-family homes just isn’t worth the expense, Rinesmith explained.

“It’s infeasible to build one- and two-family homes,” he said. “You have to remember, [this property] was originally zoned for the most obnoxious and intense manufacturing purposes in the city, so the cost of cleaning up the site is going to be difficult to offset the cost with single family homes.”

Yet board members weren’t moved by Reinsmith’s tale of woe.

“The profit wouldn’t be as large, but he would definitely make a profit,” said Dorothy Turano, CB18’s district manager. “It doesn’t belong there and the landlord is not sincere in looking to further the whole neighborhood concept.”

Board members agreed, claiming that a six-story condo would drastically conflict with Mill Island’s landscape.

“I think it would be the biggest eyesore I’ve ever seen,” board member Barbara Beaver said.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Crawford from Mill Basin says:
Geez, who are these NIMBY politicans? The residents of Mill Basin want this site cleaned up, and a six floor condo sounds like a great idea.

Why would anyone prefer a vacant lot? You can't build one family houses on a former industrial site, and that's not what Brooklyn should be building these days anyways. This isn't some crappy suburb way out in Jersey or PA.
May 2, 2012, 9:34 am
blueMagoo from Old Mill Basin says:
“You have to remember, [this property] was originally zoned for the most obnoxious and intense manufacturing purposes in the city,..."

Well good luck selling anything that is built there now Yo!
May 2, 2012, 10:51 am
Mat from Marine Park says:
Just because it used to be called "Dead Horse Bay", across from the slaughter house glue factory on Barren Island, doesn't mean they can't clean it up, or just plant it and let Mother Nature extract all those toxins out of the ground.
May 3, 2012, 12:26 am

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