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February 23, 2007

Goodbye Dolly

The Brooklyn Paper
By Ariella Cohen

Brooklyn’s only appointee to the City Planning Commission will be barred from voting on an expected rezoning around the Gowanus Canal because she stands to benefit from it, the city said this week.

Dolly Williams, who was appointed by Borough President Markowitz in 2003, owns land within the boundaries of the neighborhood redesign — a rezoning that will deliver huge windfalls to property owners like Williams.

Questions about a possible conflict of interest emerged after the planning commissioner told acquaintances that she “absolutely” supports the residential redevelopment of the Canal zone. Insiders were quick to point out that Williams’s company, A. Williams Construction, is based on Third Avenue near Sackett Street — an area that will be prime real-estate someday.

“She was working the room,” said one person who attended the Community Board 6 meeting where Williams “was telling everyone that the area would have to be rezoned. She let everyone believe that was speaking as a commissioner, not a property owner who would make millions of dollars if she could build condos on her land.”

After The Brooklyn Paper started asking about Williams’s apparent conflict of interest, the Department of City Planning told Williams that she must recuse herself.

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MARTYDOLLYPrade.jpgNoLandGrab readers may recall that Dolly Williams is also a minority owner in the NJ Nets and was forced to recuse herself from any official role in Atlantic Yards.

From the Brooklyn Papers article (03/19/05):

A City Planning Commission spokeswoman told The Papers this week that while the commission would have a minor role in review of the Ratner plan, primarily ratifying the state’s right to supercede local zoning and other development regulations, Williams will not be allowed to take part in those discussions because of her Nets holdings.

What's the point of Dolly Williams serving as Marty Markowitz's representative to the City Planning Commission, if she has to recuse herself every other time a major Brooklyn land-use issue is on the table?

Posted by lumi at February 23, 2007 9:56 AM