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Walked all over! Community board feels jilted by secret sidewalk extension

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Talk about getting kicked to the curb!

A Dumbo developer snubbed the local community board by extending the sidewalk in front of its Sands Street office complex without bothering to get the panel’s blessing first, say members.

“If they’re going to change the geography of the street, they should have asked us,” said Boerum Hill resident Sidney Meyer at a Community Board 2 transportation committee meeting on Tuesday night.

The committee members were debating the addition of sidewalk seating to the 30-foot sidewalks outside the old Jehovah’s Witnesses building between Adams and Jay streets — which Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is now turning into a high-end office and retail space called Dumbo Heights — when they realized they didn’t even know there was a 30-foot sidewalk there.

Construction on the sidewalk began in the middle of February and ended about a month ago, according to a security guard at the building. The extra pavement covered up a B69 bus stop — which is now further into the one-lane street — and a “no standing” lane that trucks used for unloading in the Jehovah’s Witnesses days.

Landowners seeking sidewalk extensions do usually have to go through an application process that involves the community advisory panels, the board’s district manager Rob Perris noted later, but the city can also just go ahead and grant the extension without asking.

Still, committee members say, it’s nice to be asked.

“It’s nice that it’s that wide, but someone should have consulted us,” said Doreen Gallo, who runs the Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance.

Reps from Dumbo Heights, the city’s Department of Transportation, and the local business improvement district present for the seating presentation all claimed they had no idea why the community board wasn’t consulted.

The committee members didn’t let the slight affect their vote, however, approving the 40 new seats 7–0 with one abstention.

The al fresco furniture is part of the city’s Street Seats program, which places little wooden plazas sporting planters and benches in seat-starved areas. They usually go over parking spaces, but because the Dumbo Heights sidewalk is now conveniently so spacious, the pop-up patios can fit in there.

Diners at the new booths will get a front-row seat to all the sights and smells of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge on-ramps.

Community boards and their committees don’t actually have any power to stop or approve things like sidewalk extensions, but they offer recommendations that the city may take into consideration.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sid from Boerum Hill.. says:
Yes its the same me. The sidewalks and the street beds are owned by the City. Extending the sidewalk into the street bed requires getting a revocable consent that is supposed to go through the Community Board for comment. Yes the comment is advisory but just like the comment for the street furniture is advisory it is many times listened to. I doubt that we would have voted against the extension. We would have questioned how they plan to deliver goods to the proposed stores. I doubt that the stores and restaurants will use the interior loading docks as they answered my other question but we shall see.
April 21, 2016, 10:28 am
Sid from Boerum Hill.. says:
BTW its the Brooklyn Bridge on ramp that abuts in the street not the Manhattan Bridge.
April 21, 2016, 10:31 am
Robert Perris from Community Board 2 says:
A couple addenda: I must differ with board member Sid; the City can reconfigure the publicly-owned sidewalks on its own and no revocable consent is required. As has been noted, however, it would have been nice to be consulted. What surprises me is senior staff at DOT weren't even aware the sidewalks had been widened. Also, for whatever reason, Street Seats are one of the rare items for review where community boards actually do have veto power.
April 21, 2016, 11:11 am
Bernie or Bust from Williamsburg says:
This is what happens when you let a criminal win your presidential primary via crooked means. When Bernie Sanders wins the Presidency, he will make sure things are on the up-and-up. He played boxball on Brooklyn sidewalks so he knows how important they are!!!
April 21, 2016, 11:35 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Sid, as you stated "advisory". That doesn't mean the city has to ask community board permission to change a public sidewalk.

This whole article is pointless.
April 21, 2016, 2:24 pm
mpierce from brooklyn heights says:
Sidewalk seating for what?
A view of the car and truck traffic going over the B. Bridge? Breath in the aroma of those fumes.
There are no restaurants in adjacent area so bring your own.
Most ped. or bike commuters exiting Manhattan Bridge will be going down Jay and not Sands towards subway or Dumbo.
April 23, 2016, 12:48 am
Allan Rosen from Sheepshead Bay says:
They did the same thing in Sheepshead Bay, closing streets and moving bus stops without consulting or notifying the community more than a few days in advance and against community wishes when the plan was first presented last June. Everyone thought the plan was dead because if the opposition but all DOT did was wait ten months and then quietly do what they wanted to do anyway. That is not democracy.
April 29, 2016, 10:23 am

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