Thursday, February 18, 2010

Brutally weird: In New Jersey hometown, FCR executive fights zoning variances, claims Brooklyn projects are "as of right"

Led by a Forest City Ratner executive with a curious case of double standards, people in Millburn, NJ, are banding together under the Save Millburn organization, opposing a zoning exception for a proposed 16,350 square foot house of worship.

As the caption says, "The structure would be too big, too high, too wide, too close to neighbors, and without a major variance would not be legal. Traffic would increase and height limits, density limits, and signage would be overridden.

Well, it's not an unreasonable position to argue that an approved Zoning Ordinance and land use plan should be amended rather than be subject to "special zoning for special interests."

Enter FCR exec

However, as Eric McClure of No Land Grab pointed out, Forest City Ratner Executive VP and Director of Construction and Design Development (and Millburn resident) Bob Sanna "is playing the part of rabid obstructionist community activist."

(Remember, Sanna's company in Brooklyn wants to build a 675,000 square foot arena across the street from row houses.)

NorthJersey.com reports:
Members of Save Millburn aren't 100 percent positive they will prevent the variances from being granted. However, members say the major priority was finding transparency in the application process, and it has been a long, litigious road.

..."Robert Sanna makes his living through development projects that require major variance relief," said [synagogue attorney Philip] Pfeffer. "In his own neighborhood they [variances] are suggested and he says they are inappropriate. This shows his true colors."

..."My company is engaged in economic development that brings jobs and affordable housing into areas that really need it," said Sanna. "That is quite different from a rabbi who wants a very fancy shul."

"All the projects my company does are 'as of right' projects that don't need zoning variances," said Sanna.
That's not close to true.

No variance for AY?

From the scope for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for AY:
It is anticipated that ESDC, in consultation with the City of New York (City), will: override the New York City Zoning Resolution with respect to use, bulk, (including height, setback, and floor area), signage, parking, and other requirements; the Atlantic Terminal Urban Renewal Plan as it relates to Site 5 and 6A; and the City Map to discontinue and acquire City streets.

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