A public hearing by the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) and a guest presentation for Gun Violence Awareness Month were just some of the many items on a full agenda at the June 21st meeting of Community Board 18 (CB18).
A moment of silence was held for former CB18 District Manager Dorothy Turano, who passed away last month. Turano was the district manager for over 35 years before her retirement in 2020. Board member Frank Seddio said it was because of Turano that they have the building at 1097 Bergen Avenue and made a motion to have a plaque placed at the location honoring her memory.
Although liquor licenses (new ones and renewals) for seven local businesses were approved at last week’s meeting, the board denied a new application for an alcoholic beverage license for Elites Event Space, located at 1663 Ralph Avenue. The 69th Precinct recommended the denial after chronic 311 calls of noise complaints and double parking at the location, stating that it is not in the best interest of the community.
Kyra Cuevas, Senior Borough Planner at DCP Brooklyn Office, gave an overview of “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality,” a proposal to update the City’s Zoning Resolutions, which would expand opportunities for decarbonization and help NYC meet its climate goals.
The DCP representative said that we are in a “climate emergency” largely driven by carbon dioxide emissions, which make up the majority of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions – 80% of emissions in 2019.
To become a carbon neutral city, Cuevas said we need to reduce overall energy needs, clean the grid and electrify all remaining energy needs. Known as Zone Green, work started in 2012 and overhauled the city’s zoning to allow for rooftop wind and solar. “Today’s carbon neutrality proposal is an extension of Zone Green,” she said. “Development of the proposal began a little over a year ago when Mayor Adams announced his vision for City of Yes.”
DCP started the engagement process in March 2022, with four information sessions and four key goals, which are to decarbonize: 1) our city’s energy grid and use 100% renewable energy by 2040, 2) buildings, 3) vehicles 4) and waste streams.
Cuevas stated that buildings are the largest source of CO2 and that every single building in NYC must be retrofitted to retire oil or gas-powered furnaces and boilers and replaced with new, highly efficient electric systems. There are funding sources available at the federal, state and city level, including NYC Accelerator, she advised.
Of the two million private vehicles registered in NYC, less than 1% of them are zero emissions. “By 2035, the goal is that all new vehicles sold in New York State should have zero emissions,” Cuevas informed attendees.
After comments and questions by board members, the CB18 board voted to accepted DCP’s proposal. All 59 community boards in the city are reviewing this proposal, and on July 26th, the City Planning Commission (CPC) will hold a public hearing on the proposed changes before it’s passed on to City Council for final review.
June is Gun Violence Awareness Month, and board member Jibreel Jalloh, president and founder of the non-profit, Flossy Organization, gave a presentation to raise awareness about his organization’s ongoing work to stop the spread of gun violence in our communities. The organization’s mission is to “foster stronger communities through education and activism.”
Jalloh shared a personal story about the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Shaquille Jones in the fall of 2011. “ I was also 17 at the time; we played basketball together. He was shot three blocks from my house.”
“A young man, a young life lost in our community. Shaquille could have been anybody,” he said. “Fast forward 10 years, Jamere Jones, another teenager gunned down in 2021. Why, a decade apart, are we still having teenagers dying in our community? A more important question is, ‘What can we do about it?’”
One solution to gun violence is the use of “credible messengers,” also known as “violence interrupters.” These are teams that mediate conflicts on the streets and connect individuals to services and resources to reduce the risk of gun violence, like employment programs, mental health services and help with drug abuse.
Missing from Canarsie is a dedicated Cure Violence site, something Jalloh has been tirelessly advocating for since 2021. He said that East New York, Brownsville and East Flatbush all have the program, but Canarsie, which borders all of these neighborhoods, does not. Jalloh wants to know why Canarsie is left out. “We have similar demographics, and we have experienced gun violence. There is a program out there that works, but it just wasn’t brought here.”
Jalloh shared some interesting statistics – since the program has started in these three neighborhoods, shootings have decreased by 40%. “If 10 people died from gun violence in Canarsie, then four lives could have been saved! That’s four Shaquilles, four Jameres.”
A.T. Mitchell of Man Up! Inc. recently announced his intention to accept a contract for Canarsie, but Jalloh must wait until the end of the fiscal year (July) for full confirmation of the contract.
In the meantime, the community activist requested that the board resend a letter to elected officials, of which there has been no reply, demanding legislation and funding for a Cure Violence program in Canarsie. That motion was passed.
The next meeting of CB 18 will take place on Wednesday, September 20th.