04 February 2008

Dept. of City Planning Obdurate, Arrogant, Dismissive

OK, the above is just my opinion. But anyone who can bring me evidence that, in its attitude toward the many-months-long Carroll Gardens movement to downsize the neighborhood's zoning, the DOCP has acted in any way other than that of stubborn, stonewalling jerks, I'd like to hear it.

Carroll Gardeners had a well-publicized rally at Borough Hall last week, where Councilman Bill de Blasio announced that Planning had agreed to consider downzoning the neighborhood. Very nice, except a department rep told The Brooklyn Paper that they "are unable to commit to a precise timeframe" for a downzoning study—the same line the office has been spreading for months. Brooklyn Paper also reported (via Brownstoner), that "the city also said that that the Councilman’s bid for a moratorium on all new buildings over 50 feet wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, because it would require an extensive environmental review."

To which everyone with a politically savvy mind should respond: bullshit! The DOCP, like the DOB, like any City agency, can do anything it wants to, and will. All it takes is for the right person to make the phone call to get the staff from keeping the issue in idle. Right now, they don't want to do it because they don't care, and nobody upstairs has told them to care. Or perhaps, influential folks on the outside have instructed them not to care, to move slowly, to cry "back-upped scheduled" and "staff shortages." Any item can be moved to the head of the list, and logic would have dictated that the Carroll Gardens downsizing should have received a promotion eons ago.

Sometimes you wonder why things have to be this way. And then you find out who's in charge. The DOCP, as anyone who follows the real estate scene in NYC, is headed by the appropriately named Amanda M. Burden, who, as the daughter of socialite Babe Paley and her first husband, Stanley Grafton Mortimer, Jr., an heir to the Standard Oil fortune, and a descendant of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, understands the need of the people very well. AND her first husband was Shirley Carter Burden Jr., a multimillionaire descendant of Commodore Vanderbilt, while her second husband was Steven J. Ross, the head of Warner Communications. She's also dated Charlie Rose.

Holy Crap!! Why do rich folks have to run out lives? It's enough to make wish for the return of Tammany Hall, when an Lower East Side bartender could become a City bigwif. With a blue blood like that in charge, is it any wonder Burden has precious little concerns for a bunch of noisy Brooklynites?

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