Thanks to solid leadership from Community Board 9 and input from all constituents of our fair district, plans have been made to limit building density and height, while achieving goals for priority affordable housing for CB9 residents. Everyone got something they were looking for; and a long envisioned goal of creating a seamless neighborhood from Eastern Parkway down to Clarkson and beyond means that everything from the subsidized athletic and cultural amenities of the Brooklyn Bedford Armory to the lovely tree-lined blocks of Montgomery, Lincoln Road and the newly re-envisioned green spaces and commercial storefronts of Empire Boulevard will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Neighborhood leaders recognized back in 2013-14 that big changes and pressures were coming to the area. CB9, under longtime chair Jake Goldstein, voted to enter into a planning process with the City to determine what the neighborhood would need in order to handle large numbers of new market rate rentals, intense gentrification, and the inevitable upward pressure on prices. Infrastructure from schools to roads to sewers needed to be addressed and recommendations were accepted by the City, and 5-years of budgets have been approved to make enormous investments.
Great thanks are due the irascible but always straight-shooting Pearl Miles, who managed to work with local stakeholders and chairpeople to keep the process on track and on time. And thanks to MTOPP and other activist groups for coming to the table in good faith, accepting compromises on a height of 10-12 stories along Empire Boulevard for affordable and market rate housing (plus the gorgeous new public housing facility at Rogers and Empire). Thanks to Ms. Boyd in particular for not suing anyone frivolously or lying about neighbors' ulterior motives or throwing tantrums and organizing protests outside people's homes.
Perhaps most satisfying for many local residents was the downzoning of nearly 30 inner bocks, preserving for at least another generation the historic nature of the 100+ year-old neighborhood.
Nice Work Lefferts!!!
(okay, so it's the first of April and the above is a bit of fanciful speculation on how things COULD have gone. But for those of you who've lost sight of how close we were, before all hell broke out at CB9, please find below the Q's revisions to the original PASSED resolution to City Planning that should have closed any loopholes to what Planning initially said was one of the best articulations of a neighborhood's needs it had ever seen. The City's ultimate deciders were pleased to enter into a conversation about how best to achieve the twin goals of growth and stability. The table was set. Then we pulled out the tablecloth and all the dishes broke into a million pieces.
Community Board 9
890 Nostrand Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225
Resolution from Community Board 9
Calling Upon the NYC Dept of City Planning
To Immediately Begin A Study of Community District 9, Brooklyn
Focusing on the Specific Issues Raised at the Listening Forum Held On March 17th 2014
Whereas Community District 9 is comprised of the distinct neighborhoods of South Crown Heights, northern parts of Flatbush, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Wingate, and is bordered by the historic landmarks of Prospect Park and Eastern Parkway; and
Whereas Community District 9 boasts such prestigious cultural institutions as the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the Brooklyn Public Library; and such notable medical institutions as Kings County Hospital Center, a number one Trauma Center; SUNY Health Science Center, Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center; and the educational institution Medgar Evers College of the State University of NY; and
Whereas Community District 9 is a unique blend of people of extraordinarily diverse heritage;
American, AFRICAN, Caribbean, European, Asian and Hispanic descent; and families have thrived in Community District 9 for generations living along our tree lined streets and enjoying the beauty and nuances of the neighborhoods; and
Whereas the existing zoning designations and prevailing land uses does not provide nor address all of the needs of the community; and
Whereas Community Board 9 held a forum at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Monday, March 17th 2014 and in subsequent meetings in the community where residents of the community expressed various concerns; a summary of which is as follows:
1) Preserve the existing character of the neighborhood
- Prevent/limit out of context (i.e. high-rise) development in
the R7-1 zoned ALL areas of the district
- Make provision for incremental expansion of homes in R2 and R4 districts
2) Adjust current zoning designations to conform to prevailing uses and densities
- Residential zoning designations mapped in Community District 9 often do not match the type of housing that exists
3) Create opportunities for affordable housing development
- Make every provision to protect residents from displacement (e.g. anti-harassment
4) Consider the appropriate blocks and lots on which modest increased residential density can be accommodated, provided that adequate restrictions on height are observed - six stories or 70 feet should be the maximum throughout the district - and all efforts are made to maximize affordable housing options while staying within these height limits.
5) Ensure that new development does not overwhelm existing infrastructure
- Address parking shortages in congested areas
- Address the need for improved sewer and water capacity
- Address the need for adequate schools
- Address the need for adequate schools
- Address the need for adequate transportation, both public transit and vehicular traffic
Be it Therefore Resolved that NYC community Board 9, Brooklyn, calls upon the NYC Department of City Planning to immediately begin a study of this district to address the issues raised in the foregoing summary; and
Be It Further Resolved that Community Board 9 calls on the Department of City Planning to implement a text change for the institution of special height and setback regulations in R701 areas in Community District 9, pursuant to the Quality Housing Program; and
Be It Further Resolved that Community Board 9 stands ready to work with the Department of City Planning to spearhead public hearings to gather additional input from the community as we seek to address the critical concerns express by the constituency.
Adopted this 9th day of December, 2014
Community Board 9, Brooklyn