Championing Preservation, Environmentalism, and Affordable Housing
“Stop condos in the Park!” members of the Coalition Moratorium to Protect Prospect Park Yelled near the Farmer’s Market at Grand Army Plaza Saturday.
Their protest against new development in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens area is fueled by concerns of preservation, environmentalism, and the need for a greater ratio of affordable housing to market rate units.
“This construction will have an adverse environmental impact upon all communities surrounding and adjacent to Prospect Park,” said Alicia Boyd, a Founder of the Coalition.
Ms. Boyd says she has been patiently waiting five years for a pending application to rezone the neighborhood. Currently, R7-1 zoning laws allow taller structures to be built without taking into account their impact upon the community and the environment. The rezoning would add height restrictions on all new construction.
But developers are trying to jump ahead of the evaluation. An “as of right” ruling allows them to erect buildings under the current conditions, and a slew of projects are in the works. The Hudson Company has initiated plans for a 23-story tower at Flatbush and Fenimore Streets. According to the Coalition, the building will be erected with the assistance of $72 million in State funds and without proper environmental impact studies conducted, as required by State Law. At least five other similar projects are to follow.
“Our Mission now is to pass a moratorium in the City Council to temporarily stop the construction of any proposed building over fifty feet,” Boyd explained, “so the New York City Planning department can address our rezoning application, pending for five years.”
Ms. Boyd also found the set-aside for affordable housing within the properties to be an insulting consolation.
“It’s going to be 80% luxury, just 20% ‘moderate’ income,” Boyd said. “It’s also segregated and prejudiced because the ‘moderate’ is only for singles or couples. No families.”
The group acknowledges time is running short.
“Once Hudson Co. lays the foundation for this building, it’s a done deal,” Boyd said.
Update: a Judge has now issued a moratorium on the pouring of concrete at the site. All parties await the Judge’s further decision.
Editor’s Note: We have reached out to the developer, as we would like to offer them equal space to make their case for the development and further developments. We have now done so in a related story, which appears below.