Friday, July 25, 2008

General Meeting of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (CoWNA)

Yesterday was the latest general meeting, held at the Jalopy theater. I went and met the people of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association (CoWNA). A dedicated group of local residents fighting to preserve the identity of our neighborhood.

The agenda included updates from the committees, the finalizing a statement of goals for rezoning our neighborhood, as well as a discussion on traffic through the neighborhood (specifically the Ikea shuttle route).

Several politicos showed up, all announcing they were there to listen. Craig Hammerman, current District Manager CB6 and candidate for City Council's 39th district; John Heyer, Brooklyn Borough President's representative to CB6 and candidate for City Council's 39th district; Jo Anne Simon, candidate for City Council's 33rd district; and State Senator Martin Connor.

The Land Use Committee presented their recommendations for the rezoning of the area. The goals are to maintain the intimate character of the existing community (by rezoning from R-6 to R-6B, which would limit the height of new construction to 50ft, and respect the street wall; Fort Greene recently made the change), to preserve the existing mixed-use pattern of development and strengthen the Columbia Street and Union Street retail areas (by rezoning from M1-1 Manufacturing to Mx/R6B Mixed use; as Williamsburg and the Gowanus Canal area did). The likelihood of this happening is rather slim, it seems we can't hope for anything until the next administration, that's 2010.

The Education Committee presented their policy paper on the recent mess regarding pre-K admissions at PS 29, and PS 58. There seems to be very little that can be done. Only to wait and see the effects, and then do a report... We will be faced in the near future with a real overcrowding issue, as more an more families stay in NYC instead of moving out to the burbs. We can only hope for more schools to open.

The Parks and Open Space Committee commissioning a quality of the air study. And a street fair is being planned for Sept 13.

Then the Committee of everything-else-not-previously-mentioned talked about the traffic issues, mainly the Ikea shuttle route. They are supposed to turn onto Van Brunt at Degraw, but are instead gunning down Columbia making it difficult and dangerous to cross the street. Here again, it will be at least 6 months before we see any change. At this point, we need people to call local officials, there needs to be enough complaints and testimonies before anything can be done.

There are a lot of problems that need to be resolved and it will happen only if we all do our part. FYI: The City Council has, among other things, the power to review land use issues and approve zoning changes, housing and urban renewal plans, community development plans and the disposition of city-owned property.

To voice your opinion contact:
Office of Community Board 6
Councilman Craig Mammerman
(718) 643 3027, x204, ask for Leroy Branch

Don't ever doubt that a small group of dedicated citizens can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has.

1 comment:

Ming the Merciless said...

Thanks for visiting NYC Daily Photo.

Love the Columbia Street WFD. The view from Alma was spectacular.