The hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparations did not keep members of the community from attending the Fresh Creek Civic Association’s (FCCA) monthly meeting on Saturday afternoon, November 18th. The conference room at Jamaica Bay Library, located at 9727 Seaview Avenue, was filled to capacity, as the dedicated residents were eager to learn more about all of the issues facing their tight-knit community.
FCCA President Maria Garrett invited Assemblywoman Jaime Williams to address many of those issues, some of which have the potential to transform the quiet, residential nature of the Fresh Creek neighborhood and surrounding areas in an unwelcome manner. Williams expressed her disappointment in the measure Mayor Eric Adams has put forth as his solution to the housing shortage, known as “upzoning,” which would override current zoning laws and permit a major increase in residential density by building “up.” This would mean single and two-family homes could easily become multi-family dwellings or apartment buildings.
This concept of squeezing more and more people into the same small amount of space, like sardines in a tin can, comes with a number of obvious drawbacks, like increased traffic congestion, air pollution and noise, a lack of adequate parking spaces, more overcrowded public schools and so on. There is also the aesthetic/quality of life factor, however, which is much of the draw to living in a neighborhood like Fresh Creek; it has all the culture of Brooklyn, but it feels more like the peace and quiet of Long Island. It’s why so many residents choose to live on the open, green, tree-lined blocks, one of the last neighborhoods like that in southern Brooklyn, and turning Seaview Avenue into a busy Flatbush Avenue would totally upend that.
She spoke of the already tenuous traffic and parking situations that exist on Flatlands Avenue that would only be further exacerbated if commercial and mixed-use properties were permitted to build up further, adding additional apartments to their buildings, drawing in more residents. Williams discussed the lack of adequate infrastructure, the way the proximity to the water and the nature of marshland put the neighborhood at watershed capacity and the way the neighborhood was largely ignored after Superstorm Sandy and still remains unprepared for natural disasters.
Well aware of the fact that she was one of the few (maybe the only) Democrats speaking out against the initiative, Williams said that she has asked the City to hold a public town hall meeting, open to all the 130,270 constituents she represents in her District, rather than leave it to just the 51 members of the Community Board to decide. She said she will continue to fight to preserve the community and that further updates would be forthcoming and thanked Garrett for her tremendous leadership and continuous contributions to the neighborhood.
Assemblywoman Jaime Williams will be holding a “Canarsie/East New York Community Town Hall” on home resiliency and protection at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 30th at the H.E.S., 9502 Seaview Avenue.