Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Summer of Discontent: Building blitz backlash grows

Courier-Life publications, a Brooklyn newspaper chain with wide distribution, has put the backlash against the "building blitz" on the front cover. While the Atlantic Yards gets a great deal of attention, the Courier reported on all the other issues around town:

It’s the summer of 2007 and many people in Brooklyn are sweating more than the heat.

Their neighborhoods are changing fast and it doesn’t matter if “traditional housing stock” where you live means a three-story brownstone or a street-level bungalow – all you have to do is look through the blinds. New condominiums and out-of-character buildings are sprouting up everywhere.

“Does the city want to destroy neighborhoods? Sometimes I wonder,” Jim Ivaliotis said at a recent meeting of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association on East 27th Street. “The city is a little pro building.”

Ivaliotis is one of an increasing number of community activists who have started crossing neighborhood boundaries in search of allies in the fight against overdevelopment.

Like-minded individuals from seemingly disparate communities like Canarsie and Bay Ridge and even beyond have been gathering in the basement of the Kings Highway Reformed Church off Quentin Road all year long to vent their frustration about out-of-character development and devise a plan for how to stop it.

Opposition to the policies of the NYC Economic Development Corporation is growing and getting more organized. Hopefully the agency will come to realize that it is supposed to serve the public, not the other way around.