Last night marked the official start to the long, eight month public review process for the mixed-use residential and retail development proposed at Williamsburg's old Domino Sugar Refinery. As the Brooklyn Paper reports, it did not go so well for the developer behind the $1.2-billion project, which would transform the vacant 11-acre industrial site into a complex with 2,200 apartments, 30% of which would be set aside for low- and moderate-income families, plus a waterfront esplanade.
After three hours of debate, the Community Board 1 Land Use Committee voted against the proposal 5-3, objecting to the project's density, the anticipated strain on the already overtaxed L train (not to mention the J/M/Z), and the fact that the affordable housing might be made unaffordable after 15 years. "The bottom line is, we need proof that this is really needed," Committee Chairman Ward Dennis said. "We’re all for affordable housing, but we want permanent affordability — it’s a must for something we’ll sign off on."
Susan Pollock, senior VP of the development company, insists "the density of this project is required in order to make the entire program work. The [parking lot] site is so dense because we chose not to build on the [four acres] of open, public space that this community needs." The Committee was unpersuaded, but their vote is just a recommendation to the full Community Board, which will hold a full vote next month. And even a no vote there won't be enough to stop the project, which is making why board member Heather Roslund is get all emo: "We should just shoot ourselves right now. If this is the future of New York City, it’s just sad."