February, 2016

Elected officials or representatives present:

  • Matthew Pitt from Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo’s office
  • Evette Lopez from Assemblyman Walter Moseley’s office


Frank proposes reaching out to Friends of Crown Heights to ask if they would be a local pick-up/drop-off spot for electronics to be taken to Best Buy for e-cycling.

Affordable Housing Applications for 461 Dean Street

Information on how to apply is on our website.


  • Our finances are always available for request.
  • We have money to fund or sponsor projects in the community.

Updates and Reminders from Laurie Cumbo’s office

  • 2nd Annual Shirley Chisolm Women of Excellence Awards – 6PM on 3/18/16 at Borough Hall. People can RSVP at 718-284-4700 or hamilton@nysenate.gov
  • Celebration of African American History – Saturday, February 27 from 12pm – 4pm
  • Mobile Care Clinic at 250 Kingston Ave – Thursday, March 31st from 9:00am – 4:30pm
  • Trailblazers Event at Medgar Evers College (1638 Bedford Avenue, 2nd Floor) – Thursday, February 25th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
  • Two Bills Passed This Year – Intro 952 and Intro 49

Updates and Reminders from Walter Moseley’s office

  • Job Fair
  • State of the District – 6pm to 8pm Monday, February 22nd at St. Joseph’s College
  • Black History Month Event – Film Screening on Monday, February 29th from 6pm-8pm at the Brooklyn Public Library
  • Black History Month Essay Contest – Top writer will be awarded at film screening
  • Student Cabinet – last Friday of each month for high school students.
  • Seniors 60 and Over looking for assistance can call 718-596-0100

Updates from Rusty Zimmerman on the Free Portrait Project

  • Thank You to Crow Hill for sponsoring event at Local Bell’s
  • Next event this Thursday at Happy Lucky #1 Art Gallery from 8pm-11pm
  • Another event will take place on Thursday, March 17th at Berg’n Beer Hall from 5pm to 8pm
  • Will be exhibiting at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum starting in March
  • Partnering with Weeksville Heritage Society on an Oral History Project
  • Started a Parade Committee for a parade down Eastern Parkway on the way to the final exhibition. Those interested can reach out to wearecrownheights@gmail.com.


With a majority of members present (10 out of 13), Executive Board elections were held. The results of those elections are as follows:

  • Frank Esquilin will stay on as President and Josh Thompson will stay on as Secretary.
  • Keisha Jacobs, who came on as interim Vice President after Paul Carson stepped down to deal with a family emergency, will remain as Vice President.
  • Similarly, Rusty Zimmerman (he of the Free Portrait Project), will continue to serve as the CHCA Community Liaison, after taking over for Connie Nugent Miller, who also stepped down due to a family emergency last year.
  • The duties of the Treasurer will now be split between Keisha and Josh as Joanna Crispe, our Treasurer for the last two years, chose not to run again.

May, 2014

VP Paul Carson begins the meeting.
Discusses the free tree giveaway, where 98 trees were given away.
Informed the members of the farmers market that will be taking place at the same location as the tree give away: Mount Jamel’s Garden on Dean Street between Bedford and Franklin Avenues. It will be open Saturdays 8am-3pm, beginning on June 28th.

He then discussed the Crown Heights West Rezoning (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/crown_heights_west/index.shtml) after questions were asked at the previous meeting.

A member of the CB8 Housing/Land Use Committee then spoke up to inform the members that actions such as the rezoning are heard at those meetings, which meets the second Thursday of every month at CNR (727 Classon Ave). There is also an agenda that is posted before every meeting, which one can get by calling the CB8 main office. She also noted that the agendas tend to get fuller towards the summer since the CB8 Board does not meet in July and August. She also informed the members that anyone can become a member by attending three meetings in a row and implored people to attend despite the fact that Community Boards recommendations are advisory.

Paul continued to speak about the Rezoning, which essentially placed height limits on any new building in return for more floor area and lot coverage. This means that buildings can be wider, so long as they match the existing character of the other buildings.

Paul then went on to give an update on Berg’n the new beer garden opening up on Berg’n. They plan on opening up in July and encouraged anyone interested to stop by with a resume. Paul noted that most applicants in the neighborhood may not have resumes and suggested an application, which they do not have as of yet. For those at interested, they can contact Paul.

Treasurer Joanna Crispe
Announced that we have two new members, which brings us to 32 active members: 26 residential, 4 student/senior members, and 2 merchant members. We have a total of $1,110 in membership dues.

Brought up the Scholarship Fund, which is currently at $1,140 (including in-kind donations).

Invited members interested in community projects to come talk to her, after which she will bring it to the E-Board, who will then decide if it should be brought to a vote by the general membership.

Discussed the idea of a CHCA t-shirt to be sold for fund-raising and asked for a show of hands to gauge interest, which was favorable. The next step will be to contact Mike Perry, who designed the CHCA logo, to nail down design options and cost, which will hopefully be presented at the next meeting.

Secretary Josh Thompson
Announced some changes to the CHCA website, including a page dedicated solely to news passed on to us from CB8 and a similar page dedicated strictly to the 77th Police Precinct.

Project Manager Constance Nugent-Miller
Brought up the free tree giveaway mentioned earlier and said that about 90-92 trees were given away and she thanked Sue and Judy who spearheaded that project.

Asked Nick Juravich, Co-Chair of the Go Green/Go Clean Committee, to discuss the leftover soil from P.S. 705 Community Garden, which could be used to help beautify the sidewalks on Franklin Ave. Also mentioned some information pertaining to Community Gardens in the neighborhood. Roger That Community Garden is still trying to get their spaced purchased from those that own the land. They are in talks with the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust as well and could use support from anyone in the community along with elected officials who support them.

Connie then announced the Halloween Parade, which will be spearheaded by Sue.

Connie then introduced Lisa Pierre who announced the May winners of the Scholars Award Program (Apologies for any spelling mistakes).
The winners were: Kayla Rumble from P.S. 241, who will be graduating from the 5th grade; 2nd grader Jacuma Duviet; and Miss. Bernadine’s grandson (whose name was not provided) who is also in 2nd grade. Miss Bernadine was asked to stand in his place since he could not make it. The three winners were given iTunes gift cards.

Representatives from the Crown Heights Tenant Union: Keisha Jacobs, volunteer with the CHTU, and Lily Scolden, organizer with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), who are assisting the CHTU.

They handed out a full list of their demands as well, but also mentioned that CHTU is getting older residents and newer residents together together to learn their rights as tenants because some people are leaving the community due to lack of information.

They also noted that the issue of tenant rights extends to all of Crown Heights.

Meeting are held the third Thursday of every month at CNR. Also looking for organizations to endorse the Union’s demands.

CHCA President Frank Esquillin asked how one can get involved, to which they suggested that people come to the meetings at CNR. It begins with tenants of one building organizing themselves and eventually teaming up with other buildings because the more people involved will only help make an impact.

Councilman Jumaane Williams of the 45th district then addressed the membership on housing matters since he is the Chair of the City Council Housing Committee.

Brought up the Mayor’s Housing plan, which he says lays out a pretty good framework, despite not being very specific. It’s an $80 billion plan over the course of ten years. $40 billion from the City and another $40 from the private sector. He noted that this will have to include taller buildings in order to for supply to meet demand, specifically with income affordability. Councilman Williams said that he just wants to make sure the buildings are done contextually, so as to maintain the character of the neighborhoods in which new apartment building would be built.

Mr. Williams also discussed repealing the Erstat Law, which limits what the City can control (a.k.a Home Rule). This includes the ability to regulate rent. He applauded Mayor Bloomberg for bringing back Home Rule for education, allowing the City to have more control over how laws affecting education are handled, and wants similar action to be taken toward housing.

Mr. Williams also informed the members about the upcoming meeting of the Rent Guideline Board, which for the first time in many years, could decide to freeze rents, or at the very least, set the lowest increase possible, according to Mr. Williams. The vote will be taking place in June (find out date). He then took questions.

Frank asked about how “affordability” is defined because to many people, it is not affordable. Mr. Williams agreed with Frank and noted that there is a campaign called Real Affordability For All. Mr. Williams himself prefers the phrase “income-targeted affordability”, which reflects his concern for the lower and middle income demographics as oppose to the upper and middle classes.

Responding to a question from a member on whether the Rent Guideline Board meets in Albany or here in the City, Mr. Williams said that Rent Guideline Board is here in the City and it consists of 9 members, who are appointed by the Mayor. Of those nine members, two are tenants, two are landlords, and five “public” members who in the past have sided with the landlords. Mr. Williams also pointed out how they rarely address the question of whether an increase is needed and go directly to how much should the increase be. This year, they may actually choose to ask the former first. He attributed this, in part, to one of the landlord members siding with the tenants.

A member then asked about the Atlantic Gardens developments going up next to the Barclays Center and when they would begin accepting applications. She also asked about their standard for affordability and how likely it would be for people in the community to gain access to those apartments. Unfortunately, Mr. Williams couldn’t really answer the question, but he did say he was against it from the beginning and pushed for the housing to happen before Barclays Center.

A member then questioned the recent trend of downzoning and height limits if more housing is needed. He noted that those ideas seemed at odds, to which Mr. Williams agreed. The problem, according to Mr. Williams, is that nobody wants new buildings in their neighborhood (often referred to as NIMBYism, which stands for Not In My Back Yard).

Tony Fisher, owner of Pulp & Bean and Bob & Betty’s
Discussed an offer that was made to him by a developer, which he rejected out of concern for the tenants that live above his establishments, the twenty-two people he employs, and his family. He did this to point out that not all property owners are completely self-interested and that he cares about the people in this neighborhood.

Mr. Fisher then went on to discuss his history with the neighborhood, beginning in 1965 when his grandfather opened up a store on Washington Avenue where a Thriftway Pharmacy is currently located. The store his grandfather owned was one of the first Met Food Supermarkets in New York. His dad then opened up a store at 822 Franklin Avenue. His family moved from the neighborhood in the early 1970s after they suffered a home invasion that scared his mom. Nevertheless, his family has always remained passionate about Franklin Avenue and despite living in Bay Ridge, he said he only goes there to sleep. Even his father, who now lives in Jerusalem, remains interested in Franklin Avenue, as conversations between him and his son consist mostly of what is happening on Franklin Avenue, according to Tony. Family health concerns led to the closing of the store at 822 Franklin, but things are looking up now, allowing Tony to begin re-opening that store.

Mr. Fisher then went on to address criticisms that have been made towards him regarding his products being targeted to the new higher income residents. While he does appreciate and welcomes the feedback, he feels the criticisms are unfair since most of his employees live within a five block radius of his stores who are very much invested in the well being of the stores. He also pointed out that his stores are all union-affiliated, which means his employees get livable wages, benefits and 401Ks.

“Did You Know?” with Mike Fagan
Her first mentioned the walking tour that he led in May, which drew 73 attendees.

The wooden portion brewery site on Franklin is near closing and they got about asking price. It appears to be all residential with no affordable housing included.

The Seacrest Linen site has since sold as did the nearby site where they have been parking their trucks. One went for about 14-15 million and the other went for about 10 million. No affordable houing seems to be included in those as well. They are going from commercial to residential.

He also brought up the The Trivoli Towers, where residents are being forced to move into smaller apartments in some cases. You can read more here: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140505/crown-heights/tivoli-towers-residents-resist-city-orders-move-smaller-apartments

He then took questions:

One member asked what establishments are going into the first floor of the new building on the corner of Eastern Parkway and Franklin, to which Tony and Frank informed that it will be a Capital One on EP and a Starbucks on Franklin, next to Pulp & Bean.

Following that, a member questioned the motivation behind the walking tour. She felt that it was meant to draw outsiders to see the neighborhood instead of raising community awareness about what the neighborhood is lacking (e.g. a community center for youth). Mike informed her that the walking tour was sponsored by the Municipal Arts Society and CHCA. Paul also noted that it was part of a city-wide event in which walking tours were taking place all over free of charge for residents and non-residents alike. The content was developed by Mike though.

Sue addressed the community center issue, which she said had been discussed at past meetings. She said that she has been pushing to have the schools open up their doors in their off hours, which would be a much cheaper option and more feasible as well.

Another member noted that when Major Owens passed, the Bedford-Union Armory was supposed to be given to the community to be used as a community center. She also expressed concern for the youth having nothing to do for the summer.

Frank then stoop up to respond to a lot of the questions being asked and implored the membership to hold the elected officials feet to the fire instead of just complaining to one another.

Frank also announced that elected officials will be welcome, but should be ready to answer questions and finding out what the community wants instead of just talking at them. Therefore, unless we are notified in advance, they will not be given an opportunity to speak.

Frank then brought up a survey that went around at the meeting, which will allow us to find out exactly what the community needs.

Frank then acknowledged the elected officials in the room: Renee Collymore, Olanike, Mr. Gabriel from Laurie Cumbo’s office, and representative from Assemblyman Mosley’s office.

A member then responded to Frank, saying the message is clear. Affordable Housing, A Community Center where community members can meet and a the youth can play.

Frank then asked the community members to push their merchants to hire the local youth.

A member, who is PTA President for PS 316 and President for the District, then spoke up and asked that parks be included in the list, along with affordable housing and a community center. Elijah Strous Park in particular has been ignored by the City, despite repeated requests by the Community Board to clean it up and make it safer.

She then asked Frank to write something up for everyone to bring in to a local merchant regarding hiring local youth. This, she suggested, might help those who aren’t sure what to say, but might also be more effective than walking in and giving them grief.

A member then suggested that we talk to those in Park Slope who were successful in getting their local armory converted into a community center.

Frank ended by asking elected officials to give us a heads up of their attendance, so members can prepare questions and/or concerns.

Meeting Closed

April, 2014

CHCA President Frank Esquilin began the meeting
Welcomed the members and made the following announcements:

  • Reminder that politicians should request time to speak at Crow Hill meetings, that it’s important for candidates to stay until end of the meeting if possible and that members should engage the politicians.
  • Update on 311 campaign to have clothing bins removed
  • Again asks CHCA members to consider volunteering for 1 hour/month
  • Also asks members to please check the CHCA website, as it contains a wealth of valuable information

He also introduced Samantha Bernadine and Lisa Pierre, members of the PTA, and thanked them for their service and encouraged people with kids to talk to them.

Joanna Crispe made the Treasurer’s report:

  • Current 2014 membership: 30 (26 Residential, 3 Senior/Student, 1 Merchant)
  • Total membership dues collected to date: $965
  • Total assets: $5,500 broken down as follows
  • $1,400 former FAM funds
  • $2,000 former garden funds earmarked for “green purposes”
  • $725 “youth fund” (former Kids Day plus cash donations to scholarship program)
  • $1,375 general operating
  • Current monthly budget (estimated <$100/month)
  • Email service $29/month
  • Voicemail service $5/month
  • Mailbox fee (TBD)
  • $25 monthly donation to church for hosting meetings

She then informed everyone about process for applying for project support/funding:

Any CHCA member can apply for support for a project benefiting the community.  Applications (including scope of project, budget and any other sources of funding) will be reviewed by the Board, and any that the Board approves for funding will be brought to the members for a vote at the following members meeting.

Joanna also informed the members about Jane’s Walk event – free, volunteer-led tours throughout the city – which were held on Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th.

Paul Carson made the Vice President’s report:
He informed everyone that Paul and Frank had a meeting with Walter Mosely – spoke about landlord-tenant abuse, got some information about where to go for support.

The efforts to secure commitments by local merchants to provide summer jobs for local youth are underway. Frank added that many Franklin Ave. merchants are supportive but encouraged members to look at the list and ask their favorite merchants about it. Sue added that she had run into the lady opening The Berg’n, and she said they would like to have their jobs fair 4 weeks before they open.

Paul then gave an update on CB8’s position on Atlantic Yards – asked for support for a letter to the mayor. He informed everyone that CB2 is trying to change their boundaries to include Atlantic Yards. This was followed by Michelle George from CB8 explaining that over the summer, the three CBs (2, 6 and 8) were discussing the CB lines/boundaries, which are redrawn every 10 years.

Samantha Bernadine said that housing is a big issue for the community and thanked Paul for raising the issue of the possibility of coordinated community action to fight injustices that lead to displacement and lack community benefit.

Trish Tchume suggests directing people to the Met Council and other sources of support for people being displaced, as well as Crown Heights Assembly and UHAB working to organize a tenants association locally.

Michelle George encouraged everyone present to engage with their local Community Board.

Nizjoni Granville, Chairperson of Community Board 8, spoke about public vs. private money on projects, and pointed out that private developers will only come to CB8 if they are looking for a variance. Mr. Cooke then reported that property on Franklin and Eastern Parkway has been flipped since built.

Constance Miller made the Project Manager’s report:
She first thanked guests from CB8.

She then spoke about outreach at a Senior Center in nearby Fort Green and raised the issue that the residents feel that new benches installed on the street are facing traffic/dangerous and that they are also concerned about double parking.

Connie then spoke about the importance of reaching out to senior and handicapped community members that may not be able to get to CHCA meetings and proposed doing monthly outreach to these communities. Frank put in a plea for young people to volunteer in Sr. Centers, followed by Judy suggesting recruiting young people to volunteer with CHCA, especially the Go Green Go Clean Committee along with a suggestion by a guest to collaborate with the 77th precinct Youth Explorer Program.

Connie ended by informing the membership about the t-shirts/fundraising.

Nick Juravich made the Go Green Go Clean Committee report:
Thanked Stacey, Sue, Judy and Connie

Discussed the CHCA planters planting/Franklin Ave cleanup – on a weekend that works for people – and Judy made an update about other ways to get trees for those who could not make the giveaway that took place on Sunday, May 5th.

Nick spoke about the Roger That Garden and their current fundraising efforts

Introduced Fran from Crown Heights Farm Share CSA – distribute vegetables at Bedford and Prospect.

Lisa Pierre spoke about scholarship program with which she is involved – Frank, Connie and she have partnered with S.O.S. (Save Our Streets Crown Heights).

Frank introduced Ms. Granville and Ms. George from CB8
They discussed the history of CBs, which started in the 1970s with 50 volunteers – Borough Presidents make appointments – encouraged people to get involved with committees (listed them: sanitation, youth etc.) and made a point of noting that anyone can join. She also said that before there was 311, people went to CBs – CBs were the first point of contact with city agencies. She also said that CBs are the most direct/inclusive form of democracy.

CB8 responded to a community member’s concern about rats – health department issue – and sanitation department – Frank reiterated that people can call 311, make a complaint and send CHCA the complaint #.

Following that, there was discussion about the process around removal of clothing bins and regulations that allow them to be shuffled around rather than moved.

The meeting attendants were then informed that CB8 meetings take place on the second Thursday of every month except July and August with the next meeting on Thursday, May 8th at Calvary Community Baptist Church. The District office at 1291 St. Marks Ave and it is open M-F from 9-5pm.

Mr. Cooke echoed that CB8 has always been very responsive – brooklyncb8@gmail.com – and encouraged people to reach out.

The community was also informed that they could send flyers to CB8, which they will then include in their newsletters.

The community was also informed that CB8 is in touch with the transit authority about an elevator at Franklin Ave. stop

Ms. Kicey Motley from Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit – Update from Mayor’s office
Thanks to everyone that made calls and led conversations about Universal Pre-K (UPK)

Next organizing push is to spread the word to get kids to sign up.

Deadline to apply for public school UPK is April 23rd – 40% of seats will come from public schools and 60% from community based organizations. which have rolling admissions throughout the summer. She then asked for help spreading the word.

They are also recruiting teachers – go to DOE website to apply to teach

Ms. Motley also discussed Vision Zero, including pedestrian caution, driver safety – education plus enforcement- reduced speed – traffic cameras etc.

Following that, Ms. Motely spoke about the Mayor’s upcoming announcement on May 1st about the his Affordable Housing plan – 200,000 new units is the goal. Low income – family of 4 making less than $50,000/year (at Domino Sugar factory). This was followed by a discussion on affordable housing. Spoke about mandatory inclusionary zoning.
A gentleman added that there will be an affordable housing component to the Armory on Bedford

Ms. Whiteman from St. Theresa of Avila brought up issues with the church, located at 563 Sterling between Franklin and Classon. It has been in the community since 1874 with a capacity of over 400. However, the infrastructure is aging, so she is planning a street fair on Sterling and hopes to close down the street. Ms. Whiteman is also looking for a car to raffle, a trip for 2 to Disney, and a TV or small refrigerator. St. Theresa’s is also hoping to build a ramp or an elevator.

Chef Robert Aita – Spoke about his new restaurant at Franklin and Eastern Parkway (where Fez was briefly) and summer jobs.

History of the Neighborhood with Ms. Sarah Taylor – Co-founder of CHCA: Congratulated Frank and the new Board – moved to the area in 1980 – was completely dilapidated – but she saw the potential that it had – museum, library, botanic garden – formally started meeting in 1996 – met with Hodia Davidson and other experienced community members – Ms. Taylor contacted lawyers alliance and got 501c3 – went to Columbia University for 6 weeks – started attending CB8 meetings – met Stephen Smallwanner from BID who made a $10,000 starting gift – raised additional funds from SBA, Con Ed, Chase Bank etc. – new street lights, signal lights, streets resurfaced, mailboxes and bus shelters installed, nearly 100 trees planted, lots cleaned, tree guides, hired accountants to do auditing for grants received, and much, much more – encourages us to make alliances and make sure proposals are well edited, praised the support of CB8 – advised that dept. of sanitation will provide cleaning materials for street cleanup – when she left the association one of her last projects was working on escalators and elevators for Franklin Ave. stop.

“Did You Know?” with Mike Fagan – Presented his list of the top 14 things changing in the neighborhood and also spoke about his upcoming Jane’s Walk: Crown Heights, Where Change is Happening, which took place the weekend of May 4th. You can also link to his blog post about the walk on his blog, Brooklynian.

Ede Fox – Small community grants for local composters – Brooklyn solid waste advisory board Facebook page

Rene Collimore – spoke about efforts around tenant rights and handed out a booklet – encourages folks to read pamphlets.

Mr. Jesse Hamilton – president of Lincoln Civic Block Association – many political offices – update on harassment of residents in Tivoli Towers – harassment of tenants – aggressive displacement by landlords – housing crisis affecting seniors – advocating for sucessation rights – reverse mortgages – announcements on a number of upcoming events – stressed the importance of landmarking – running for NY State Senate. . He can be reached at 718-284-4700.

Frank called to adjourn meeting 9:38pm

March, 2014

Introductions of Executive Board officers and their roles.

Frank Esquilin, President:

Who we are and what we are going to do in the community with a focus on getting the community more involved. Stressed the need for everyone in the community to involve.

Paul Carson, Vice President:

Spoke about organizing a job fair with local merchants. Still thinking about how it would work, but he has gotten favorable responses from Asia Dog, Monatgue BBQ and the Beer Garden, opening at 1000 Dean Street.

Spoke about his role as a land use consultant and ideas about how to get developers to come to CHCA first instead of the Community Board.

Josh Thompson, Secretary:

Spoke about being responsible for CHCA communication via the website and social media in addition to taking meeting minutes. This includes keeping people up to date on CB8 and Police Precinct 77 happenings.

Joanna Crispe, Treasurer:

Spoke about her role as treasurer. She plans on providing a full treasurer’s report at the next meeting since she has been out of town and is still trying wrap her head around the finances. She will also be responsible for maintaining the membership base. The current tally, as of the last meeting when payments were received, is 24. She explained that the new Board has decided to start fresh and count only those who paid at the last meeting when elections took place.

Constance Nugent-Miller, Project Manager:

Announced her position as Project Manager. This will involve organizing committees and finding appropriate chairs, which were formed through the Town Halls that were held in 2013.

She announced the four committees that CHCA currently has, beginning with Community Outreach, led by her and Lisha Bai. Political Engagement will be led by Justin Rogers-Cooper. Youth Engagement will be led by Sue, who helped organize the Halloween party last year. She will also partner with Judy to organize a Tree Giveaway in May. Go Green is another committee, but does not currently have a chair.

She also spoke about getting t-shirts made for Crow Hill to make her more identifiable in the street and also for the use of possible fundraising. She spoke about the book club, which she has been running. Next meeting is April 5th and the Calibar Imports. She also spoke about organizing a Women’s Group and children’s reading series down the road. Go Green is another committee, but the chair is vacant presently. She ended by acknowledging our seniors and disabled who have given so much to the community and deserve a program or event in their honor.

Ayelet Prizant and Marcus Allison, the new bloggers for the Crow Hill website.

Short Term Goals of the new Board:

  • Get each member to give us one hour per month.
  • Remove illegally placed clothe donation boxes, which will require help from the community to call 311 and then email chca@crowhillcommunity.org with your reference #. This will give us more weight when we call.
  • Neighborhood yard sale to prevent people from putting stuff out that gets left on the street. It will also help neighbors meet each other.
  • CHCA Scholars Program, for which information can be found on the CHCA website.
  • Summer jobs for youth in the community is another goal
  • Reactivation of the Franklin Avenue Merchants.
  • Provide a forum for people to advertise on our website.

Long Term Goal:

  • Get the MTA to install an elevator at the Franklin Avenue subway stop.

New Segments for General Meetings:

  • Have long-term residents speak about the history of the neighborhood to give some perspective and history of the neighborhood. This week’s speaker was Ken Cook, who spoke about his time on Vanderbilt Ave where he ran a program sponsored by the Public Developments Program, which provided funding for merchants to improve their property. Although the funding ran out, he was still able to recognize a positive change in people’s attitude. He spoke about how different it was between Eastern Parkway and Bergen and between Bergen and Atlantic. He spoke about how impressed he is with Franklin Avenue’s development over the last ten years and encourage people to cherish it’s new found beauty work to maintain it. He also noted how much the membership of CHCA has grown (it used to only be about a handful of people) and he is really encouraged by what it has become. He also spoke about the importance of block watching.
  • “Did You Know?”, which will be led by Mike Fagan, who will provide fun facts and information about things happening in the community that may not be widely-known. Mike could not be in attendance this month, so Frank did it himself. He talked about the Dept. of Transportation’s plans of putting a bike lane on Franklin Avenue and encouraged people to keep their eye out for upcoming meetings. Second, there is a new program by the MTA giving real time information on bus locations. Paul noted you can find it online under BusTime and Josh mentioned there is also a smart phone app that costs $2.99.


Kisi Motley, the Brooklyn Borough Director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Department

Spoke about the Mayor’s full day universal pre-k for every 4 year old in the city, which Ayelet Prizant has written about for the CHCA blog.

Big fight has been to push people to call their elected officials in Albany to support their plan. The Assembly included the Mayor’s plan with the “soy latte” tax in their budget proposal while the state Senate included $540 million for five years, which is “essentially the Mayor’s plan without the tax”, which is fine with them. She handed out a one page pamphlet with more info. as well as a phone number with which they can reach their elected officials. Asked people who support it to thank them for supporting it, but to also remind them that we are paying attention. The vote on the state budget is taking place on March 27th. She then took questions.

Ms. Bernadine mentioned that this plan does not mandate universal pre-k and asked if the Mayor will push for it. Ms. Motley could not speak to that, but mentioned that community-based organizations will be instrumental in providing space with around 600 already submitting applications. These spaces will also provide certified teachers who will be supervised by the Dept. of Education.

A member asked about how charter schools will be handled, to which Ms. Motley said “we are going to what is best for the kids”. She also mentioned how they will not be doing some of the things that the previous administration had done. She gave examples like putting elementary school students in the same building as high school students, displacing special needs kids, letting large construction projects go forward that hinder the schools’s ability to function.

A clipboard was then passed around for people to provide their emails to stay informed about the progress of the Mayor’s plan.

Laurie Cumbo, City Councilwoman

Only been in office for 2.5 months, so right now she is just trying to listen and gather information.

Announced that Friday, March 21st was the deadline for submitting requests for discretionary funding from the City Council.

In the midst of making appointments to the Community Board.

Budgetary concerns are a priority right now for the City Council.

Newly elected members of the Brooklyn delegation: Carlos Menchaca and Darlene Meely. They will be setting out the guidelines for how they’re going to take funding requests for Brooklyn-wide delegation items.

Suggested we design comprehensive plan with neighboring organizations and Community Boards in order to bring together all the different things that organizations within the community are working on.

Spoke about her goal as a member of the Youth Services Committee, along with City Councilman Matthew Eugene, to provide every applicant that is qualified should be given a summer job. This is important because the summer is when youths are more susceptible to criminal activity since they have nothing to occupy their time. Also wants to make sure that arts is an integral component, given her background in the arts.

Qualified applicants must be between 14 and 24 and undergo a medical examination, among other things. Can’t realistically get all 140,00 of those students a job, with such obstacles as municipal labor contracts, but hopes to at least double the numbers.

Sue asked about having schools be open during the summer and for longer hours to provide kids with more places to go. This was one of the topics that came out during the Town Hall Meetings. Ms. Cumbo is still trying navigate the waters to get a sense of how to accomplish that.

A member asked about Participatory Budgeting (PB). Ms. Cumbo said new members can’t do it, so she is hoping to roll it out for next year. She explained the basic premise of PB, which is that each City Council district gets $1 million for projects that the community gets to vote on. She wants to make sure she has the staff to handle that, but she is fully in favor of PB.

A member asked about the Bedford-Union Armory. Ms. Cumbo stressed that it will get done by the end of this term. She used this as an example of why a comprehensive plan is necessary.

Jesse Hamilton, former legal attorney to former State Senator Eric Adams and President of Lincoln Civic Block Association (LCBA):

Talked about being in the third phase of landmarking that LCBA is working on. He also noted that, despite the 20th State Senate seat being vacant, they have kept the office open. He also mentioned his involvement with the New Academy in East New York in which there is four core teachers teaching 60 students over the course of five years. This, they believe is a successful model because it gives the students continuity, as oppose to having five new teachers every year.

Ede Fox, CB8 Chair of the Environmental and Sanitation Committee:

Spoke about her role as the CB8 Chair of the Environmental and Sanitation Committee, which holds its meetings at CNR on the third Tuesday every month at 7pm. Repeated the message about calling 311 when one has an issue.

A member mentioned a broken water pipe at the corner of Classon and Park Place, which he called 311 about, but has not seen anything happen with. Ede urged him to reach out to her committee and encourage other people to call 311.

*Going forward, we ask that for those that want to speak at our meetings, please give us a heads up, so we can post it on our agenda and people can come prepared to ask questions.

Petition to Help Get Sasha Pierre-Louis Promoted to Detective.

This will be an online petition for a police officer who has been serving the community for 16 years as a Community Affairs office and has had a hard time getting promoted to detective. A petition will be put on our website to get Commissioner Bratton to make that promotion.

Frank motioned to close the meeting, which was seconded by a member at 8:50pm.

CHCA Meeting Minutes: September 2013

President Eve Porter welcomes the community back from the summer break.

Julie Whitaker explained the process the Board went through to draft new by-laws and instructions for submitting suggestions for edits.

Updates from workgroups
Sue Boyle explains that the workgroups formed from the town hall meetings in March 2013. They workgroups have acted independently of CHCA over the summer, and will determine whether they want to become part of CHCA this fall.

Livable Neighborhood
Updates from Judy B. on the trash assessment done over the summer. The group will cooperate with the sanitation department to test whether more or fewer bins on an intersection impacts the amount of trash in the area. They will also be soliciting community feedback on what kind of issues they have with trash collection and sanitation in the neighborhood. The group is looking for volunteers who can join the group and commit and hour or two a week.

Laurie Cumbo, our new 35th District council member, introduced herself to the community.

Community Engagement
Updates from Constance on the goals of the group, to make our neighborhood feel like a community where people know each other and say hello. The group is working to put up a bulletin board for announcements about what’s happening in the neighborhood. There’s a Community Engagement Book Club that meets at 7PM on the second Tuesday of every month at Calibar Imports. There’s also a women’s social group meeting every Friday night from 7 – 10PM at Calibar Imports (704 Franklin Ave.)

Youth Engagement
The fourth annual Franklin Ave. Halloween parade is coming up in October. Kids of all ages are welcome to attend. It’s currently scheduled for October 27th at 3PM, we start at the community garden on Dean St. between Franklin and Classon Aves.

Other announcements:

  • The 77th Precinct Auxiliary Unit is looking for volunteers. Call 718-735-0675 to speak with Lt. Campo.
  • Election for Board Members will happen in January.
  • A community member announced that the 77th precinct is interested in recruiting Block Watchers. He explained the program to the community and asked for recruits. The Block Watcher orientation is giving by the precinct. Once you complete it, you’re given a card with a Block Watcher ID number.

Board Members will be elected in January 2014, next month ballots will be available to nominate candidates.

The need for a Chairperson of the Franklin Ave. Merchants group was raised. The Board will discuss with merchants how to best handle that process and report back.

CHCA Meeting Minutes: April 2013

APRIL 16, 2013


President Even Hill opens meeting with introduction of board members

Summary and wrap up of Town Hall meeting in March


New York Landmarks Conservancy (NYLC) – Blair

Historic Districts Council – Frampton

Crown Heights North Association – Debora

Introduction to NY Landmarks Conservancy

Introduction to Historic Districts Council

CHCA presentation on historically significant buildings in the neighborhood and an overview of the CHCA landmarking process to date.

– First landmarking informational meeting held in 2008.

– Landmarking discussions continued at monthly CHCA meetings.

– Second informational meeting held in 2009.

– In 2012 formal landmarking proposal made

Presentation on buildings of note in the community.

Questions from the community:

Would landmarking encourage people to sell their properties, allowing the new owners to change the building?

– Once a building is landmarked, it’s landmarked in perpetuity. Even if the building is sold, it remains landmarks.

Does landmarking increase the costs of making changes to buildings?

– It can, depending on the changes you’re making. But there are groups that provide incentives, grants, and loans for renovations on landmarked buildings.

What’s the process for doing exterior changes on a landmarked buildings?

– Process of exterior changes – submit a one-page request for a permit. Most permits are submitted within a week’s time.

Could the cost of landmarking be passed down to renters?

– There are tax incentives for landmarking programs (J-51), which can prevent the any costs from trickling down to renters.

Does landmarking prevent buildings from being taken by the city as eminent domain?

– Landmarking makes it much more difficult for buildings to be taken by eminent domain.

Does landmarking only concern the front of the building?

– Landmarks regulates the full exterior: front, back, side, roof. The rear of the building is regulated much more loosely.

What if you have already made modern changes to a building, would you have to change them back once it was landmarked?

– When a building is landmarked, everything already done to the building is grandfathered in.


Zoning is a set of regulations governing the size and shape of new construction as well as the use of a property.

Goals of the rezoning study:

– Maintain the existing scale and character of the neighborhood

– Create incentives for development of affordable housing

– March commercial zoning to retail character

Rezoning Proposal:

– Establishes height limits for the entire rezoning area that would facilitate context sensitive development.

– Identifies areas that can accommodate modest growth for application of Inclusionary Housing Program.

– Updates existing commercial zoning to match underlying land use and lot configuration.

CHCA Meeting Minutes: November 2012

Eve introduces Crow Hill and the board members.

The new building being built at Franklin Ave. and Eastern Parkway is supposed to be a residential building with affordable units. But plans could change as it’s being built.

The third annual Franklin Ave. Halloween parade was very successful, with more than 50 kids in attendance.

Crow Hill organized a collection for Sandy Relief.

Jesse Hamilton with State Senator Eric Adams
– Working to prosecute landlords offering people money to move out or making conditions terrible for people who won’t move out.
– Rapid Realty
– Housing count judge can come out and speak to residents about what their rights are.
– Occupy Wall St. organized a rally in front of MySpace Realty
– HPD for renters rights

Walter T. Mosely, district
– Spoke at Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce about needing chamber to be more responsive to corridors like Franklin Ave. and coordinating with groups like Crow Hill.
– Will keep Crow Hill updated on efforts to reform the housing court.

Hakeem Jeffries representative brought Macy’s parade tickets.

Committee breakout at future meeting.

CHCA Meeting Minutes: September 2012

The meeting of the Crow Hill Community Association was held on September 18, 2012, 7:30 PM at The Gospel Tabernacle Church, 725 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY.

In attendance: 30

  • Vice President Stacey Sheffey opens the meeting and welcomes attendees.
  • Summer activities in the neighborhood:
    • The 5th Annual Kids Day was a huge success, with waterslides, face-painting, popcorn, cotton candy, and lots of happy kids and adults from across the neighborhood. See some great photos – are linked to on our website.
    • The Landmarks Preservation Committee has voted to create the Park Place Historic District between Bedford and Franklin Avenues.  CHCA began its landmarking effort in 2008 and this is the first portion of our community to gain landmark status. You can learn more of the history of the block on our website.
    • Art Not Arrests held art classes over the summer for kids in the neighborhood — dance, music, instrument making, theater, painting, creative writing, drawing, and more — and donated the money raised over the year to the SOS program.
    • Franklin Avenue Merchants received an honorable mention in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Greenest Block in Brooklyn competition for Franklin Avenue between Park Place and Sterling Place.
    • Green Market was held every Sat. At the Walt Shamel Community garden on Dean St between Franklin and Bedford Still going every Saturday 8am- 2pm until October 27.
  • Walter Mosely, newly elected assemblyman, on quality of life issues in the neighborhood:
    • A bus and bike lane will be added to Franklin Ave. The two car lanes on the avenue may become one. The goal is to make the avenue more safe for everybody on the road.
    • Looking into the speed bump on Prospect Pl. which is currently too big due to the pavement sinking.
    • Tree guards have been added to Sterling Pl. between New York and Nostrand Ave.
  • Jonathan Butler, Brooklyn resident, is starting a project at 1000 Dean St. between Franklin and Classon Ave.
    • A space will be created for small businesses and artists, which will hopefully be open in spring 2013.
    • The ground floor of the building will be turned into a restaurant for small food businesses looking to graduate from the Brooklyn Flea into a space of their own.
    • 25-30 positions will be available in the restaurant, and they will be working with Crow Hill to hire from within the community.
    • A space will be available to rent for events, and the space may be available for use in the afternoons for community events.
  • Mike Perry, a local artist, is opening a three-month community exhibition called Wandering Around Wondering. Learn more.
    • If you know of a wall that would be available for a mural, contact mike@mikeperrystudio.com.
    • Looking into making connections with schools to do murals or have art workshops for local classes.
  • Rene Collymore, assembly female district leader
    • Interested in setting up a Franklin Ave. farm stand.
    • Running a civics program for children in middle schools, looking for volunteers.
    • Contact: 917-353-2990, collymore1@netzero.com
  • A representative Tish James’ office: On Sept. 19 there will be a meeting on the landmark status of Park Pl.
  • CB8 is hosting an e-waste collection on Saturday, Sept. 22 in front of the Childrens Museum Saturday 10 – 5pm

CHCA Meeting Minutes: May 2012

The meeting of the Crow Hill Community Association was held on April 17, 2012, 7:30 PM. The located was moved from The Gospel Tabernacle Church to the back room at 739 Franklin.

Kelly from the Greene Hill Food Coop came to talk to the community.

  • Has over 1000 members
  • You can work your Park Slop Coop hours at the Greene Hill Coop
  • Dedicated to providing healthy, sustainable, local produce to anyone who wants access to it. Accepts WIC, EBT, and other food assistance programs.
  • Open Wed 6- 10 , Sat 10a – 6pm
  • Work commitment: 2 hours/month
  • Located at Putnam & Fulton, close to Franklin Ave stop on the C train.
  • More info at greenehillfood.coop

Community Garden

  • The CHCA community garden on Franklin Ave. has to close because the lot is being sold.
  • CHCA is looking into partnering with the Dean St garden  (between Franklin & Bedford) for future projects.

Go Green/Go Clean committee

  • The Franklin Ave merchants will be entering the Greenest Block contest.

Art Not Arrests

  • The Dean St garden (between Franklin & Bedford) has taken on the Art Not Arrests installation and summer programs planned for kids in the community.
  • Still looking for teachers for new classes.
  • If you teach painting, drawing, crafts, or other projects kids might be interested in, please contact Arts Not Arrests.
  • If you have contacts in the community that can help us reach out to schools and kids, please let us know so that we can raise awareness about the summer programs that are being planned.

Mike Fagan on behalf of SOS Crown Heights

  • Youth program is searching for internships for kids 14-17 years old.
  • If you have a business or work in an office setting, talk to Mike.

Community Youth Mentoring Program

  • A community member is working on starting a youth mentorship program, if you’re interested in volunteering, mentoring, or getting updates, visit crownroots.org

CHCA board elections

  • Nominations and elections for the board will happen during the June meeting.
  • If you’re a dues paying member, you can be nominated for and/or vote for the board.

Take Back Our Community

  • A program started by Senator Adams has been started to organize community members block-by-block.
  • If you’re interested in organizing with people on your block, contact CHCA for support.

Summer Farmers Market

  • June 20 – August 30 at the Dean St garden.
  • More information to come.

CHCA Meeting Minutes: April 2012

The meeting of the Crow Hill Community Association was held on April 17, 2012, 7:30 PM at The Gospel Tabernacle Church, 725 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY.

  • President Eve Porter opens the meeting with a welcome to first-time attenders and board introductions.
  • Officers from the 77th Precinct were present to meet with the community. The precinct is located at Bergen & Utica, with another location at Dean & Flatbush.
  • Sergeant Carmacho and Officer Joseph from the precinct introduced themselves to the community and warned that apartment burglaries are on the rise.
  • Laptops and game systems are the main priority for theft.
  • It’s recommended that residents change the locks when they move into a new apartment, because many installed locks for apartments are flimsy.
  • Another recommendation was to reinforce locks on windows.
  • Residents were also advised to be more aware when they exit the subway, instead of immediately opening their phones.
  • You can call the 77th precinct and ask the crime prevention officer to survey your apartment for security issues. 718-735-0634
  • A building owner can sign up for the FTap program, which allows officers to go in the building and ask people if they are residents.
  • Residents can have drinks on the roof of a building if the owner of the building has given permission.
  • The Brooklyn Bike Patrol is a volunteer program is available to escort people home in Brooklyn. Sunday-Thursday 8PM-12AM, Friday & Saturday 8PM-3AM. Call 718-744-7592, brooklynbikepatrol@gmail.com, facebook.com/brooklynbikepatrol,
  • Shalawn Langhorne, vice chair with CB8, talked about the Take Back Our Community (TBOC) initiative. If community members are interested in forming a block association, contact CHCA: chca@crowhillcommunity.org.
  • Board member Sue gave an update on three big real estate projects happening in the neighborhood:
  • The lot at Eastern Parkway & Franklin sold and there is a new rendering of the plans for that space.
  • At Dean & Bergen between Franklin & Classon: 1) The Nassau Brewery complex is getting ready to start phase one of the revocation of the older buildings, resulting in 20 commercial units. 2) A 150 Sq ft warehouse will now be developed into commercial spaces with a beer garden and performance space on the ground floor.
  • If you know somebody who is licensed for construction, electrical work, etc, put them in touch with CHCA and we can make sure the developers of these spaces consider hiring locally.
  • Residents should be proactive about bringing commercial spaces that you want to see in the neighborhood.
  • The Go Green/Go Clean CHCA committee will be doing a cleanup and planting day on Saturday, May 5th. Meet at 10AM – 12 PM, meet at the community garden.
  • SOS is seeking summer internships for their youth program in Crown Heights. If you work in a setting, especially an office setting, please contact SOS.
  • The Lower East Side Ecology Center recycles electronics. In the fall, they will be coming to Crown Heights. More details to come.