Sanitation withdraws garage lease applications

Proposal to negotiate long-term leases for existing garage serving neighboring community district faced local opposition. On October 13, 2010, the Department of Sanitation withdrew a proposal that would have allowed Sanitation to negotiate long-term leases for two privately owned lots that it uses as a maintenance facility in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sanitation has occupied a one-story garage at 525 Johnson Avenue since 1954 and an open parking lot across the street at 145 Randolph Street since 1987. The properties have been operated under month-to- month license agreements since their leases expired in 2007 and 2006, respectively. The properties are located in Brooklyn Community District 1, but the facility serves Community District 3.

Sanitation intends to relocate the facility to a site located within CD 3 at 56 Nostrand Avenue. The City Council in 2001 approved the relocation, but completion of the new garage facility has stalled due to cuts in Sanitation’s capital budget. According to Sanitation, construction of the Nostrand Avenue facility will take six years from the date that funding is restored.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 and Borough President Marty Markowitz opposed the lease applications. CB 1 instead recommended that the City take steps to implement its Solid Waste Management Plan in order to fairly allocate the responsibility for handling the City’s waste. Markowitz noted that this was the borough’s most burdened district in terms of solid waste management and recommended that Sanitation commit to prioritizing the construction of the facility in CD 3. The City Planning Commission, however, unanimously approved the applications, noting that Sanitation had been working in good faith to relocate the facilities out of CD 1.

At the Council’s Landmarks, Public Siting & Maritime Uses Subcommittee hearing, local Council Member Diana Reyna opposed the lease applications. Reyna said the community had been fighting for the construction of the Nostrand Avenue garage for years and described Sanitation’s “deliberate failure” to prioritize funding for the garage’s construction in its ten-year capital plan as a “travesty.” Daniel Klein, director of real estate for Sanitation, explained that although the Nostrand Avenue garage was a high priority, the current budget only provided funding for one garage in Manhattan. Reyna said she was unwilling “to extend further delays” in the form of lease renewals and instead wanted “solutions.” The Subcommittee’s vote was laid over to allow further discussions.

When the Subcommittee reconvened, Chair Brad Lander announced that Sanitation had withdrawn the proposal. Reyna reiterated that she was “disappointed and frustrated” with the delay in constructing the new garage, and said that she hoped to engage in further dialogue with Sanitation to resolve the matter.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC, Type II action
Comm. Bd.: BK 1, Den’d, 45-0-0
Boro. Pres.: Den’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Council: Withdrawn, 48-0-0

Council: 525 Johnson Ave. (C 100258 PQK – acquisition); 145 Randolph St. (C 100264 PQK – acquisition) (Oct. 13, 2010).

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