Persistent flooding and the first cannabis dispensary in the area were discussed at the October 18th meeting of Community Board 18 (CB18), held virtually and in person, at 1097 Bergen Avenue.
Heavy rains flooded many of the homes in Bergen Beach and the surrounding area on April 28th. Members of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Field Operations personally visited some of the affected homes to investigate damages, and a subsequent Town Hall meeting was held on May 10th. A DEP representative gave a presentation at last week’s board meeting as a follow-up to the agency’s investigation of problematic flooding in the area.
The rep said that we are experiencing more powerful rain storms. NYC sewers are built to handle 1.5 inches of rain per hour, and storms this year have exceeded that amount. A residential survey revealed that 50% of homeowners have sloped driveways, a factor that contributes to flooding.
The area was inspected using drones on July 19th, and it was determined that there was no major structural damage contributing to the April flooding, caused by a combination of heavy rain and a high tide.
The DEP will conduct an analysis of the existing sewer system in Bergen Beach and will look at engineering alternatives to eliminate flooding in the area. The estimated completion date of the project is August 2024 at a cost of $430,000.
Residents are advised to take certain precautions to prevent future flooding. They include cleaning debris out of catch basins before a storm, using rain barrels to collect stormwater, disconnecting rain gutters from the sewer and redirecting downspouts away from your home, elevating belongings and using flood sensors.
For intense storms, residents are encouraged to place flood barriers near doors, garages, and basement windows, and to install sump pumps in their homes.
Each year, community members, civic and block associations submit budget requests for review by CB18 for inclusion in the Capital and Expense Budget. The board voted to accept the submissions for Fiscal Year 2025. Requests typically include items such as upgrades to parks, reconstruction of local roadways, etc.
Naomi Hopkins of the Planning and Zoning Committee gave a presentation on the BDD (Business Development District) program at the Ralph Avenue Branch of Ponce Bank. The BDD program encourages the establishment of banking branches where there is a demonstrated need for banking services. It also promotes community development and individual wealth. A grant for the minority-owned community bank would increase the number of “banked residents” in CB18 and increase financial awareness and mastery. The board approved a letter of resolution in support of Ponce Bank’s grant application.
Recreational marijuana was legalized in New York in March 2021, but licenses granted by the New York State Office of Cannabis Management have been held up due to lawsuits and bureaucracy.
A new application for an “adult-use retail dispensary premises license” was approved for the Flatbush Pot Shop, located at 2129 Flatbush Avenue (between Avenue N and East 45th Street), the first one ever approved by the board, and a new subcommittee will be created to handle forthcoming applications.
One of the part owners spoke about the dispensary, stating that all cannabis products will be tested and approved by the state. You must be 21 to purchase cannabis, and she assured attendees that her products will not be visible from the street. Security will be provided as well.
Nineteen board members voted in approval of the dispensary, while 11 voted no, with two abstentions.
Not everyone was happy that a marijuana shop will be opening in our community. One board member, who works in a school, said that teenagers are smoking pot in the bathrooms on a daily basis. She said the availability of cannabis is really impacting our schools and questioned how regulations are going to be enforced to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors.
CB18 District Manager Sue Ann Partnow gave her monthly report, stating that the 63rd Precinct will be increasing manpower due to the war in Middle East. “Crime is down, mostly shoplifting incidents at Kings Plaza,” she said.
Construction on the B82 bus route was set to begin on October 16th, and the construction at Brookdale Hospital is due for completion in fall 2024.
Twenty-four additional “detectable warning surfaces” on pedestrian ramps have been completed in south Canarsie. Partnow said that the Department of Design and Construction will begin work on corners in Mill Island in 2024. She also advised that the DOT installed a new traffic signal on Williams Avenue by P.S. 325.
CB18 will be holding its annual Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree on Sunday, October 29th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the board office, 1097 Bergen Avenue.
The next meeting of CB18 will take place on Wednesday, November 15th.
A recently installed detectable warning surface on East 91st Street and Avenue J.