Friday, March 28, 2008

What do the Toll Brothers Have to Offer: Reactions to the 4/26 Presentation

As you all know, last night representatives of the Toll Brothers' Bond Street development team took the opportunity of the CB6 Meeting at PS 32 to tell their side of the story. Personally I think it's a good sign that they were there at all, as opposed to acting like us and the CB6 didn't exist, but as you can see it was a mixed bag.

The following is from a message posted to the FOB list, by a neighbor:

Hi All,

Here's my addition to the reports about last night's CB6-Toll Brothers' meeting.

The lead guy and much of his crew came either without doing their homework, or intending to obfusticate.

They were asked about "affordable" housing - but they had no hard $ figures as to how much a simple apartment might cost. The figure of a family of 4 making $48,000 annually and about 1/3 of that going for rent was thrown around. That's about $1500/ month - after taxes. You do the math. Also, how many of our senior citizens will be able to go anywhere near that when they
are making less than $12,000 a year from Social Security. It was also mentioned that there would be two different construction crews - one for the "affordable" apartments, and one for the "market can also do the figuring on that situation.

They were asked about seems they have changed their tune about how to build the garage (which will fit LESS then half the number of cars per apartment). When last detailed, the garage would be built underground. Not so anymore, I guess they figured out most cars don't double as submarines. They are talking about the possibility of valet parking...probably because of the tight fit in their proposed garage. It is now proposed that the garages (one on each side of First Street between Bond and the canal)will be built at ground level and covered by some of the
designs by the landscape architect. Nowhere was it mentioned whether the 12 foot platform on which the entire development was supposed to be built on is still in the plans. Is it because that at the scoping meeting that idea, which would create an ugly water challanged Bond Street during rains, received a lot of criticism/ or is it because they forgot to mention it they for got to mention the ...

Shadows from the tall buildings. They did say that they have worked on that issue, but forgot the drawings . Yeah.

They were asked about the water issues, and here their lack of homework really showed. The engineer who has worked on this issue essentially stated that they will build two new systems to deal with sanitary and unsanitary waste water - and a treatment plant to deal with the sanitary water which, when treated and dumped into the canal, will be cleaner than the canal water...isn't that water cleaner than the canal water even BEFORE they treat it? Is this "treatment" another sop or smoke screen to hide the fact that their other system to deal with "unsanitary" water is nothing more than an additional pipe to channel this water to the old and soon to be very overtaxed main which, during rainstorms, overflows into the canal? One can hear the sewer caps popping already.

They did not respond coherently to the problem of ground seepage...they are building in a tidal/drainage area. Homes in the area ALREADY have water in their basements during heavy rains (which have increased measurably in the past decade). The Toll project will take away more soil needed for drainage and increase the seepage throughout the neighborhood.

There were other inconsistant and ignorant, at best, comments about the enviromental effects of their project - let others address those. Additionally, effects on schools and public transportation were not mentioned at all, and effects on parking, traffic, and shopping only glanced over. There is so much more to be said, but I'll finish with the obvious realization that, even if everything last night was presented in good faith, these people have no idea of the total enviromental effect of their project - especially when combined with what has already happened on 4th Avenue, and
on Bond and Carroll, and what is planned on Court Street, 360 Smith Street, and the Public Place.

Let's hang tough.


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