Pols call for transparency on homeless shelter
by Andrew Pavia
Oct 09, 2013 | 454 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local elected officials have sent letters to the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Department of Investigation (DOI) regarding a proposal for a 170-bed homeless shelter in Carroll Gardens.

They are demanding a copy of an audit determining if the facility located at 165 West 9th Street would be suitable for an all-male shelter.

Councilman Brad Lander, Assemblywoman Joan Millman and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery have filed a request under Freedom of Information Act to get the audit, and are calling for the DOI to investigate the entire project.

The audit in question found violations with regard to zoning, administrative code and the multiple dwelling law in May, however all but one was dismissed. DOB accepted the audit on August 28.

“It would seem this currently administration wants to push things through,” said Millman. “It was ill conceived from the get-go.”

Millman said that during a walk-through of the facility she noticed there was not adequate ability for firefighters or emergency personnel to access the entire building.

“It could certainly be a dangerous situation,” she said.

The elected officials are also calling on DOB to submit 10 missing construction documents, demonstrate compliance with zoning, provide rooftop access for firefighters and prove compliance with accessibility requirements.

“We want to get answers to the questions,” Millman said. “They should share with us rather than ram it through.”

Community members have voiced opposition to the shelter since it was proposed last year. One issue is the facility will house 170 men in a building designed to be a 10-unit condominium.

“It is totally out of character with the neighborhood,” said Bill Appel, executive director of the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation. “The block has taken a turn for the better, it's like taking five steps back if this happens.”

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