Millman Gives Testimony to Landmarks Commission

January 8, 2008
Brooklyn – Today Assemblywoman Joan Millman submitted testimony to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission recommending that the Commission deny a development proposal for 110 Amity Street in the Cobble Hill Historic District.

Assemblywoman Millman does not support the project because it does not comply with landmark rules established to protect the quality of life and character of the historic neighborhood. The development plan is also opposed by Community Board 6, the Cobble Hill Association and over 400 community residents. Assemblywoman Millman’s testimony to the Landmarks Preservation Commission can be found below.

“The purpose of creating a historic landmark district is to preserve and protect the architectural, cultural and historical heritage of a designated area, and the current proposal is out-of-scale and inappropriate for the Cobble Hill Historic District,” stated Assemblywoman Millman. “After the community’s hard work to achieve landmark status for this neighborhood, it would be a giant step backward to allow the proposed development at 110 Amity Street.”

Testimony Presented to:
Landmarks Preservation Commission

Submitted By:
Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly, 52nd Assembly District

Re: 110 Amity Street, Brooklyn

Thank you for the opportunity today to comment on the proposed development at 110 Amity Street in the Cobble Hill Historic District. As the Assemblymember for the 52nd Assembly District, representing Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, and Park Slope, I urge you to deny the developer’s application for 110 Amity Street that would bypass the Cobble Hill Historic District’s landmark regulations.

Cobble Hill is one of Brooklyn’s most prized and best preserved neighborhoods. It has achieved that status because of the community’s active involvement in protecting its unique 19th century charm and the proper enforcement of landmark rules established by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect New York City’s historic districts.

The developer’s plan is out of context with the neighborhood. The overall design is too dense, ignores the character of Cobble Hill and detracts from the special qualities of the surrounding area in the historic district. The proposed townhouses would not include the customary 35 to 50 foot rear yard and would not face the street on which they are constructed. The townhouses also will intrude over 40 feet into the open space of the central garden within the block. A building of that depth thrust into the central garden will disrupt the architectural streetscape and mar the neighborhood’s character. It appears the developer’s plan is a poorly disguised attempt to pay lip-service to landmark regulations with the sole intent of maximizing profit at the expense of a historic neighborhood.

In addition, the rear portion of the two inner-most townhouses will be visible from the street, in violation of landmark rules. In 2006, the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied an application at 184 Warren Street, in this same historic district, for a two story rear yard addition that was visible from the street. The application was denied by the Commission because the addition negatively affected the character of the historic district. The townhouses in the application under consideration today are more than twice the height of the proposed addition at 184 Warren Street and clearly visible from the street. They, too, will negatively affect the character of this historic district.

I hope the Commission will uphold the rear yard addition rules to ensure a precedent is not established for permitting developers to bypass historic district regulations solely for financial gain. The proposed development offers no benefit to the community and will only serve to encourage other developers to flout regulations mandated by the law.

Community Board 6, the Cobble Hill Association and over 400 community residents have all taken the position that developer of 110 Amity Street should not be allowed to violate the restrictions of the Cobble Hill Historic District. I join the community in this position and I urge the Landmarks Preservation Commission to do the same.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.