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Senesh gets attention of Board 6

The Brooklyn Paper
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Community Board 6 threw several ounces of prevention at a proposal to amend the city code so that a Carroll Gardens private school may expand — even though the proposal has already been withdrawn by the lawmaker who planned to introduce it this week.

At its Dec. 9 meeting, the board voted overwhelmingly to urge that a “precedent setting” amendmentto the administrative code, “if introduced”be tabled by the City Council until the community has an “adequate opportunity” to review the proposal.

The amendment wouldremove a portion of First Place from restrictions on building on its front courtyard, and set in motiona plan by Hannah Senesh Community Day School to construct a two-story building on the property, which it currently uses as a parking lot.

Local residents balked at the plan, saying it eviscerates all the work done to preserve the very nature of Carroll Gardens, the neighborhood’s charming courtyards.

But earlier in the week, City Councilmember Bill de Blasio agreed to withdraw a bill he planned to submit on Dec. 9 that would amend the code. Instead, the public advocate-elect said the amendment, and other land use applications associated with the school’s expansionist plan, would be submitted next year, and be subject to an extensive public review, called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

“I think it was the feeling of the committee that to allow this expansion without ULURP was not appropriate,” said Board member Lou Sones. “What we are saying is we don’t want this decided on by the Council without a public process.”

Added member Judith Thompson, “It just smacks of something...I find it offensive.”

The Board 6 Landmarks/Land Use Committee introduced the motion on Dec. 3, before de Blasio pulled the bill. Theoretically, the bill could still be introduced at the Council during its last session of the year — but the likelihood is remote.

The school’s attorney, Ken Fisher, has said it will take several months before an application will be ready for public review.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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