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Neighbors: planned after-school site could put kids in harm’s way

Walk with care: Residents say the corner of Cass and Corbin places is a traffic nightmare. Now a developer is planning to build eight apartments and an after-school community center at the intersection.
Brooklyn Daily
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Kids and cars could make a lethal combination, say neighbors of a new development in Brighton Beach.

The developers behind a controversial apartment building plan to bring an after-school program to a community space planned for the building, but locals say the nearby intersections are too dangerous, and adding kids to the equation is an accident waiting to happen.

“I’m afraid to cross Corbin Place every day with my child,” said resident Milana Landsaw.

The new development sits between two T-intersections — where Brighton 12th Street meets Corbin Place and where Corbin Place runs into Cass Place, a short, busy road linking Neptune Avenue to Shore Boulevard — creating a hard-to-predict traffic flow.

The seven-story building will include eight apartments, eight parking spaces, and community space, and a representative for the developer said it is negotiating with New American Self Help Jewish Educational World to open an after-school program on the ground floor. No lease has been signed, but both parties indicated the program is a go.

“When the building is done, we will open,” said Jewish Education World’s president, Yefim Buberman.

Residents charge that the seven-story development will exacerbate dangerous traffic conditions, create a headache for neighbors, and stick out like a sore thumb among the two-story row houses along Corbin Place. During a community meeting to fight the project, a representative for the developer admitted some of the gripes were well-founded, but said his clients will move forward anyway, because zoning allows it.

“I’ve heard all about the congestion, and that is true,” said Michael Michael, who represents the developer. “All that is true, but doesn’t take away from the fact that this building is properly zoned.”

Elected officials vowed to battle the proposal, but said fighting the as-of-right construction may go nowhere.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Brighton Beach) said he will push for improved traffic safety at the intersection and noted that the Department of Transportation has committed to a traffic study on Corbin Place.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) said he will push the city to down-zone the lot before the developer can begin construction — effectively blocking the project.

The Department of Buildings approved plans for the project at 7 Corbin Place in January, according to department representative David Nussbaum, but it has not yet issued a permit to start construction.

Redesignating the lot could take months, so Deutsch urged the Department of Buildings to hold off. But even if the department allows construction to go foward, the city could still slow the building process by challenging permits and slating inspections.

“We can make sure they comply with every piece of minutia,” said Cymbrowitz’s community liaison Ilya Novofastovsky. “This project is going to be under a microscope.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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