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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

At "Community Conversation," vague discussion about delayed middle school, NYPD parking at garage

A couple of nuggets of Atlantic Yards-related information emerged at the "District 35 Community Conversation" on June 9 held at PS 9 in Prospect Heights, with representatives from several government agencies.

Though purportedly co-sponsored by Assemblymember Walter Mosley, Council Member Laurie Cumbo--er, Majority Leader, as she introduced herself--and her staff got all the introductions.

That delayed middle school

What's the current status of the middle school promised for the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site? "The SCA [School Construction Authority] is not actually building the school," commented Tamara Smith, an SCA community relations manager. Rather, that's the job of the developer (which she referred to as Forest City Ratner, rather than Greenland Forest City Partners).

"But the developer got into a series of litigations, so the school building has been on hold," she said. "When they are done with legal," the design process will resume. "We're hoping very much that it does get started this year."

As I recently reported, a documented potential timeline on the SCA web site, with MS One Brooklyn starting in July 2019 and with a two-year buildout, is not necessarily likely, as the potential timeline has regularly changed.

Moreover, the issue is no longer a legal battle but, according to the developer, a continued dispute with a neighbor regarding site access. It doesn't sound like the SCA is well informed. The building plan was unveiled in December 2015, and there's been a history of delays.

That said, the sites where construction is plausible are the three terra firma sites, including B15, plus B12 and B13 on the southeast corner of the project map.

Police parking spaces

What happened to the 24 parking spaces promised for 78th Precinct cops at the 535 Carlton garage, which would presumably lessen the need for them to park on sidewalks or otherwise exercise privileges not available to civilians?

"My old commanding officer [Frank DiGiacomo] did meet briefly with the manager" of the garage, stated Detective Brian Laffey, a Community Affairs Officer. "We got a new C.O. at the beginning of March." Laffey said he's trying to coordinate a meeting with that C.O., Jason Hagestad, with the manager.

Thing is, 535 Carlton, at Dean Street, is one long block east and a block north of the Precinct at Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street, so maybe cops would rather park closer. And the garage at 38 Sixth is too small to accommodate those spaces.

Asked about seeming scofflaw parking by cops in the neighborhood, Laffey said, "they're told to refrain from parking" on the sidewalk. "I can relay that to my C.O." The other version of that, at Precinct Council meetings, is "we'll look into it." If the powers that be wanted it to stop, they could do so.

Affordable housing discussion

Various attendees questioned the affordability of affordable housing, with Lacey Tauber, a government affairs staffer with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, reading a comment that the AMI (Area Median Income) in subsidized housing "needs to be broader."

"AMI is determined by HUD," the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, she said, and the income range "is determined by term sheets." She noted that term sheets vary, with some emphasizing very low income and/or senior housing.

(With Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, the city used an unusual program known as M2 for "100% affordable" 535 Carlton and 38 Sixth, with half the units in the upper middle-income band.)

Cumbo cited the need to have AMI "reflect the neighborhood," an understandable, if pretty much impossible goal and one she didn't raise when praising some not-so-affordable housing.

Neighborhood Support Team

Daniel Abramson, who heads the mayoral Community Affairs Unit in Brooklyn, was asked about the status of the Neighborhood Support Team, an initiative created by the previous City Council to coordinate city agency responses to complicated issues.

He noted the Community Board 2 applied for such an NST to address Atlantic Yards, with the city's Maceo Torres working with the Community Board and the Dean Street Block Association. Issues include trash, parking, and construction, he said. "Maceo and all of us are currently reviewing our action plan."

Given that the bi-monthly Quality of Life meeting is already established to hear neighborhood concerns, "we don’t want to recreate the wheel," a city rep said at a meeting last month. "We’re here to help make sure things get taken care of."