Objections to the Resolution
MTOPP wasn’t opposed to the entire resolution, we are opposed to several sentences in that resolution that would have acted like a Trojan Horse and undermine everything that we did not want to happen – "Paragraph 3) Create opportunities for affordable housing development. – Identify areas for inclusionary zoning. And Paragraph 4) Increase residential and retail density along transit and commercial corridors.
- Allow contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corridors including Empire Boulevard."
First, it was noted in the minutes of CB 9 ttp://www.communitybrd9bklyn.org/docs/CB9_- that the resolution was a result of a summary of the communities desires and wishes based upon a March 17, 2014, meeting held by CB9. According to the recorded session http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M1Fp9pvjHg&feature=youtu.be, the community is clearly stating that it did not want sky scrapers, increase residential density (more people) and wanted to preserve the affordable community it lives in. It was against developments that have a so called 20% affordable component and a 80% luxury competent, because of the negative impacts of displacement, ecological issues and existing high residential density that currently exists in the community.
Second, from the minutes of the meeting clearly denotes Pearl Miles, an office manager, as the sole author of this document. So the question is asked, who ever uses words like corridors,
contextual developments, residential density, inclusionary zoning? These are highly specific words that planning people are familiar with but surely not the layman, which implies she was helped or may not even be the author?
Third, let’s see what it really means. Well along transit and commercial corridors in this context it means major streets that have transit access and commercial zoning. This would mean, Washington Ave, Bedford Ave, Flatbush Ave. And remember it said including Empire Blvd, which means more than just Empire Blvd. Yes Empire Boulevard is the only one that is commercial but all the other corridors have transit access, so it includes those as well!
Fourth, identify Inclusionary zoning, is a specific zone that city planning has created that allows for developers to gain 33% more floor space than allowable by law if it includes 20% affordable units. Thus allowing them to build higher!
Fifth, what is going to happen on these corridors, you are going to increase residential density.
This means adding more people into the community, because residential means residences - apartments, condo, coops etc… which equals people. Where? On the corridors that have transit access and commercial zoning. Now if you identify any of these corridors as an inclusionary zone, you will add another 33% more residential density, because you are adding 33% more building!
Sixth, it goes even further and says it will do contextual development. Some of these corridors already have residential development, so if you are going to add, it will have to be up, right? But how far up, it will be contextual. That means City Planning will look around and say what is high in this community and let’s build to that height, being within context!
Seventh, let’s look at our community and see what are the highest buildings that are near our transit and commercial corridors. On Flatbush Ave you now will have a 23 story building (626 Flatbush). On Washington Ave there is the Tivoli Towers which is 24? stories. On Empire Blvd there is Ebberts fields that are 25 stories. Thus theses corridors would be prime target for the inclusionary zones, because it would remain within context of the current structures and allow for 33% more space even if the land space wouldn’t allow it normally.
Eighth, there are also the negative consequences that would arise out of this rezoning study and that is the displacement of the current community. “Increase residential density along the transit corridors” according to a HUD Publication on Sustainable Communities, http://www.sustainablenyct.org/docs/SCI%20Implementation%20Plan%20Draft%2020140414.pdf“ has the potential to spur gentrification and displace residents of low-moderate-income areas.”
Thus these four simple lines, that Tim Thomas said was so innocent and nothing for us to complain about could give the power to City Planning to build 20 - 30 story buildings all along Washington Ave, Flatbush Ave and Empire Boulevard! What is deemed the most expensive and valuable property, because of its proximity to the Park and Garden.
Is this what the community said it wanted at that March 17th meeting?
There was no restriction to this resolution, there was nothing that said not Flatbush, not Washington Ave, all it said was including Empire Boulevard, and why because if they didn’t pinpoint an area they wanted to development that sentence would not have went pass the few players involved. But it just added Empire it did not exclude Flatbush. All the players had, that were pushing for this resolution, was City Planning’s “word” that they will be “negotiating” with Community Board 9 as the study was going on.
City Planning said this resolution was one of the best resolutions they have ever gotten from a Community Board because it was so broad! Why because there was so many possibilities for developers to make money and do as they please as they negotiate with the community, who by that time would be just advisory! Yes let’s look at that one.
Powerlessness of CB 9 and the Borough President
Borough President Eric Adams and Community Board 9 would act purely as advisory. The Borough President does not have any power to create “policy” which is law. Rezoning is law! He has no veto power and would be in the same position as the community. The only power that he now has is through the Community Board itself. By appointing people and then demanding that they do his bidding!
Thus Eric Adams has no power to negotiate or even promise to protect this community, once this resolution would have been in the hands of City Planning. Watch the documentary “My Brooklyn”! And you will see how City planning behaves with the community at this level.
What we are asking at this point is for this resolution to be withdrawn and a new one created. One that has tighter controls to ensure we are not taken advantage of. Clear language that includes height restrictions, specific areas to be studied etc… No increase in residential, we are already the densest populated area in Brooklyn! A resolution that comes from the community and is based upon what the community truly wants.
Not a free pass for developers to come here and change the entire character of our neighborhood off of the suffering of the home owners and tenants in our community.
Finally, City Planning and others have said but it is only a study. No, because what you study is what you will get. City Planning will spend thousands of dollars, years of creating it and they will find that up zoning (which was requested by the community, in that resolution paragraph 3 and 4, which they will site!) is a great idea and the “study” will prove that and they will pass it and that will be that!
NO Residential On Empire Blvd!
Preserve Our Affordable Community!
Down Zone Empire Blvd!
No Inclusionary Zoning!