Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Significant" Impacts Expected to Grand Ferry Park From Domino Sugar Factory Development

Density, Density, Density. The proposed project includes buildings that could rise to a maximum height of 400 feet in two locations.  According to the DEIS, this will have significant shadow impacts on Grand Ferry Park.  


In yet another example of the serious need to enact Sunshine Zoning laws to help protect parks and open spaces comes news that shadows from another large development will have an adverse impact on park land. For three seasons of the year according to the DEIS the up to forty story high buildings will cast more than three hours of new midday shadows in Grand Ferry Park, a 1.8 –acre waterfront park in Williamsburg as first reported by the  NY Post's Brooklyn Blog.  

The writers of the DEIS envision park users packing up thier belongings when Grand Ferry Park is experiencing darkness during the middle of the day and moving to newly created parkland which would not be impacted at the same time. (Can't make this stuff up.)  

"During the spring, summer, and fall seasons, the new project-created open space would provide sunlit areas during times when Grand Ferry Park is experiencing areas of incremental shadow. "

The DEIS states: "The analysis concluded that the proposed project’s development on Site A would result in more than three-and-a-half hours of new midday shadows on portions of Grand Ferry Park throughout the year. During the fall, winter, and early spring the utility of the park will be significantly impacted due to increased shadows on sun-sensitive features used by park visitors (e.g., benches, picnic tables, etc.) and the park’s vegetation would also be adversely affected. The significant adverse impact would occur upon full construction of Site A, which is projected to be completed in 2020. During the primary growing season (April through October), all areas of the park would continue to get several hours of sun in the morning, and most areas of the park would get sun later in the afternoon as well. However, several hours of new midday shadow would be cast on the park."

In December, under the future without the proposed project condition (the “No Action” 
condition), sunlight is already limited throughout the day, and the proposed project would remove all or most of the remaining sunlight for about two hours around midday. Portions of the park would continue to receive direct sunlight throughout the day during the spring, summer, and fall. However, the several hours of incremental midday shadow would cause a significant adverse impact to the users of this open space during the fall, winter, and early spring, and would likely also adversely impact the park’s vegetation. Most trees and many plants require a minimum of between four to six hours of sunlight to maintain healthy growth during normal conditions. The long duration of increased shadow during the spring, as well as the increased shadows during the remainder of the year, have the potential to reduce the amount of sunlight to a level below that needed for plant and tree survival. 

However, the proposed project would create approximately four acres of new public open space, including a connection to Grand Ferry Park. This new project-created open space would provide an esplanade with benches and plantings along the water’s edge, a lawn in front of the renovated Refinery, and several active recreation areas, including playgrounds and an active play lawn with a water feature that could function as an ice rink in winter. During the spring, summer, and fall seasons, the new project-created open space would provide sunlit areas during times when Grand Ferry Park is experiencing areas of incremental shadow. " – Chapter 7: Shadows (p. 7-1)  

An influential North Brooklyn civic group came out swinging today against a $1.5 billion plan to bring 2,200 new apartments to the former Domino Sugar factory site in Williamsburg, saying the ever growing neighborhood can’t handle such a population boost, according to the NY Post Brooklyn Blog.  

"We just don’t have the infrastructure and services to handle all these new people," said Phil DePaolo, president of the New York Community Council.

He pointed out there are at least three other projects in the works or seeking city approval that would bring another 4,000 units of housing to North Brooklyn. This includes the controversial 1,851-unit Broadway Triangle development approved by the City Council last month.

But that doesn’t include about 10,000 units of housing anticipated to be generated through the city’s 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning, which allowed for high-density residential buildings along the waterfront.

The DEIS does acknowledge that the project would significantly impact certain parts of Williamsburg, such as nearby Grand Ferry Park.

The document says the new glass and brick buildings the development would bring, which range from 6 to 40 stories high, would cast more than three hours of new midday shadows on the 1.8 –acre waterfront park.

This, the report states, would cause "a significant adverse impact to the users of this open space during the fall, winter and early spring, and would likely also adversely impact the park’s vegetation."

Read More: 

NY Post Brooklyn Blog - January 5, 2010 - By Rich Calder

Brownstoner - January 5, 2010  

Compiled by Brownstoner.

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