Friday, December 4, 2009

The Case Against Hannah Senesh's Carroll Gardens Expansion

According to Carroll Gardens CORD, departing Councilman Bill de Blasio will be introducing a bill to amend "old Brooklyn Law" on December 9th. He will be requesting a change that will allow the Hannah Senesh School (in the Google image above) to build a two story structure on a courtyard on a "Place" block, in this case First Place at Smith Street.

These courtyards are specifically protected under old Brooklyn Law from having any structures built upon them.

The Pardon Me For Asking Blog makes a clear case against the Hannah Senesh School's expansion into the courtyard, which the school is presently using for a parking lot.

The "parking lot," PMFA points out, is actually "city owned and protected by a 150-year-old law which states that the unique wide gardens of the neighborhood's Place blocks can not be built on or used for parking.

"The change would amend the old law by excluding the corner of Smith Street and First Place. Hannah Senesh will then negotiate with the city to buy the publicly owned land for a token sum ( $1 has been suggested) and build a two story extension." (See PMFA earlier post with photos.)

The Carroll Gardens Courtyard History Blog posts a copy of the Old Brooklyn law here.

We have nothing against Hannah Senesh, which we hear offers a great education to its students. But there are bigger issues here, as PMFA points out. Carroll Gardeners are pissed, and rightfully so.

BTW, a NYC Lobbyist search shows that Kenneth Fisher was paid $7,500 by the school to lobby these groups in 2008 for the "acquisition of a lot currently owned by the City of New York": Brooklyn Office of City Planning, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, New York City Council, Office of the Mayor of New York, New York City Department of Transportation. The current building was completed in April 2007.

UPDATE: PMFA blog supplies a letter you can send off to de Blasio and other officials here.

UPDATE: A de Blasio spokesperson and Ken Fisher tell the Brooklyn Eagle why they think the school expansion is a good idea.

- CORD To Brooklyn Councilman de Blasio: "Wish You Were Here"

Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

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