Letter to The Department of City Planning!

Dear Winston Van Engel, Director of City Planning, Brooklyn Office


On April 12, 2016, at the ULURP committee meeting of Community Board 9 "CB", members of the community came out and protested the conduct of both yourself and members CB9. First it was noted that CB9 requested meetings with you in secret. However, according to the Open Meetings Law, Article 102 and 103 “Every meeting of a public body shall be open to the general public.  A public body means an entity, which consists of two or more members, performing a governmental function and who has quorum requirements”.


The community is aware that you might not fall under these requirements, but Community Board members do, as is noted in the Parliamentary Procedural Guide for New York City Community Boards.


It has also come to our attention based upon a letter that was sent to you  from Demetrius Lawrence, our Chairman of the Board of CB9,  of a “community base plan” that is being conducted should be implemented into your study plans.  We are aware that this plan has been created by PLGNA.  A private non-profit who is attempting to state that it is a “community” base plan, despite its creation, funding and completion having been done in private.


Please be aware that a lawsuit has commenced against PLGNA regarding this study, because it is viewed as a study that has no community support, nor does PLGNA speak for the entire community!


We are also aware that your office in Brooklyn has a pattern of racial discrimination when it comes to rezoning in that you have consistently down -zoned and protect white communities, such as Cobble Hill, Boreum Hill, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Brooklyn Heights and at the same time you have up zoned all communities of color, including Downtown, East New York, South Crown Heights and Williamsburg.


This racial discrimination seems clear and persists in your bid to protect parts of Prospect Lefferts Garden side streets, which is predominately made of White people at the expense of up zoning the Avenues which are predominately where Black people live.


And thus your proposal for our community is not only racist as the New York Times has alluded to, regarding  your rezoning patterns but they also place almost 100,000 Black people at risk for being displaced. With every Black community facing gentrification in Brooklyn and the rent burden in these locations amounting to over 80%, the push to develop luxury housing, is simply a push to displace and to cause harm to many people for the benefit of a few


In HUD’s publication called Sustainable Communities it notes that development along transit corridor (wide streets that have buses and trains on them) in low to moderate income communities causes displacement and gentrification. Now you and a few of those secretly selected members of CB9, may not care what happens to all those homes that reside on those Avenues and the men, women and children who will have no place to go, once they are thrown out of their homes, but we do!


At this point in Brooklyn, every Black Community is now unavailable to Black people and with the white community also not available, (this being a very segregated City), the only place Black people have to go is into the shelter to system  which is increasing every day, as your agency, The Department of City Planning,  goes into affordable community after affordable community making them unaffordable in the name of the creation of “affordable Housing”.


Well rest assure, this community will continue to fight for the people, we will not sit at any table or make any negotiations with the Department of City Planning to rezone this community.  We are aware of the lies and half truths that you state and the Con game that you engage in with communities to get them to agree, until it is too late!


I still remember, sitting at the table with you in the Spring and Summer of 2014, where you stated that you would not move forward with any rezoning study in our community if you did not have consensus from the community and then I watched you try to steam roll ahead, in the face of serious opposition to your rezoning study.


These are the lies that I know you are capable of saying.  Community after community has stated the half truths you spill and your refusal to adhere to your promises and we too have seen it and we believe.


We will continue to fight both in the streets and in the courts to protect our community from the greedy Real Estate Developers to which your agency seems to be in complete alignment with

at the expense of the people of this city!


Alicia Boyd, member of MTOPP