Open letter to Bill de Blasio: Don’t rush into housing at BBP’s Pier 6
Dear Mayor de Blasio,
We write regarding the proposal, originally put forward by the Bloomberg administration, to build two condominium towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. As you know, we have long opposed this proposal, and believe there are better alternatives to finance the park.
We are concerned about the breakneck speed at which the Bloomberg administration’s project appears to be moving forward without significant modification or community input, especially since other viable options have not been revisited under your leadership. We urge this administration to work collaboratively on alternative park financing, rather than moving forward with the Bloomberg plan.
In 2009, Senator Squadron suggested to finance the park with a new funding stream called Park Increment Recapture (PIRC). The city would redirect a percentage of property tax increases on any rezoned or newly taxed properties within a 0.4 mile radius of the park. It would provide enough money to adequately fund Brooklyn Bridge Park while allowing for an aggressive affordable housing strategy.
Since the original proposal to build at Pier 6 was put forward by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, numerous controversial and unanticipated projects, including LICH and the former Watchtower properties (all within the PIRC area) have arisen. Pursuing hundreds more units within a successful park without full evaluation of the proposal or the impact it would have on the surrounding communities will further overtax the limited local infrastructure.
Also unanticipated when Mayor Bloomberg proposed luxury condominiums, was the dramatic increase in flood risk at the Pier 6 sites. In FEMA’s revised New York City flood map, the Pier 6 development sites went from largely having a 0.2 percent risk of catastrophic flood activity to a one percent annual risk, a five-fold increase in risk.
In addition, the Bloomberg administration based all of its park development financial models on a workforce that does not consider prevailing wage, training or safety standards. By rushing forward, this administration risks continuing the prior administration’s lack of commitment to labor standards, in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the other large projects in the area.
We urge you to restart the Brooklyn Bridge Park financing conversation — with an acknowledgement that any plan for the park must be financially self-sustaining —by directing your administration to come to the table to push forward more sustainable and responsible alternatives.
Daniel Squadron, State Senator
Nydia Velazquez , Congress Member
Joan Millman, Assembly Member
Brad Lander, Council Member
Stephen T. Levin, Council Member
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