A FIGHT WORTH FIGHTING
Unfortunately, the City Council voted 48-2 in favor of Alloy’s 80 Flatbush proposal. Under pressure from District 33 council member Stephen Levin, Alloy reduced the height of the primary tower from 986 feet to 840 feet, and the secondary tower from 560 feet to 510 feet. The project’s FAR (it’s density, essentially) will also be reduced from 18 to 15.75. But these changes will do little to mitigate the impact 80 Flatbush will have on the surrounding community, including the Rockwell Place Bear’s Community Garden, which will not receive enough sunlight to sustain much of the fruits and vegetables and flowers that have been hallmarks of our precious sliver of green space on Flatbush for decades.
The garden isn’t going anywhere, though. We will adapt and continue to serve the community. 80 Flatbush and similar developments that will go up in the coming years may snuff out the sunlight, but they will not snuff out the spirit of the Rockwell Place Bear’s Community Garden or its volunteers. Thank you to anyone who has supported our efforts to fight irresponsible development in Brooklyn, especially to those who donated their time and/or money to the cause. It was a fight worth fighting.
March 1, 2018
If you’ve passed through Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, or Fort Greene recently, you’ve probably noticed a lot of new development. High-rise buildings and corporate retail are overtaking the area, particularly along Flatbush Avenue. While much of this growth is good, it’s important that Brooklyn develops in harmony with its existing communities, not at their expense. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work this way.
80 Flatbush, a massive building proposal from Alloy Development that is about to undergo a months-long review process, is not as beneficial to the community as the developers would like you to believe. Installing a 74-story tower in an area already suffering from over-congestion would create a number of problems for the community’s residents, as well as some of its institutions. One such institution is the Rockwell Place Bear’s Community Garden, a public green space that has been cared for by community volunteers for close to 40 years.
As part of the proposal for 80 Flatbush, Alloy Development was required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is what it has to say about its impact on the garden and surrounding open spaces:
The Rockwell Place Bears Community Garden, the BAM South Plaza at 300 Ashland Place, and Temple Square would experience significant adverse impacts as a result of the proposed actions. The proposed actions would cause these resources to receive less than four hours of direct sun. Given the duration and extent of incremental shadow, the use and character of these open spaces could be altered and the health of the vegetation found within the open spaces could be significantly affected by new project-generated shadows. Other nearby sunlight-sensitive resources would also receive new project-generated shadows but the project-generated shadows would not significantly alter the use or character of the resources or threaten the health of vegetation within the resources. However, the significant adverse shadow impacts would not result in an impact on neighborhood character because there are several other plazas and gardens in neighborhood that would continue to be sunlit and function in the same way as the affected open spaces.
Alloy Development says it cares about the impact 80 Flatbush would have on the community, but its callous claim that the destruction of the garden’s ability to sustain vegetation “would not result in an impact on neighborhood character” proves otherwise.
Have a look at how disproportionate 80 Flatbush would be with the surrounding neighborhood.
Below is an approximation of the shadow 80 Flatbush would cast not just on the garden, but on the entire neighborhood. Some have estimated that the shadow could extend all the way to Fort Greene Park.
The environmental impact on the garden and the surrounding area would be dire, but snuffing out the sun is only one of the adverse affects 80 Flatbush would have on the community.
- For many residents, 80 Flatbush would obstruct the view of the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the most iconic visual signpost in all of Brooklyn.
- The area is already heavily congested with foot, vehicular, and subway traffic. 80 Flatbush would significantly exacerbate this congestion. Don’t let Alloy’s renderings fool you; there will be more than one or two cars on the street and a handful of pedestrians on the sidewalk at a time.
- Though it will provide a new home and additional seats for the Khalil Gibran International Academy, as well as another new 350-seat school, 80 Flatbush will do little to remedy the area’s schooling crisis (especially considering the new students that will come with its 900 new apartments will offset a significant portion of the seats created).
- Construction would not be completed until 2025.
- The 80 Flatbush development is obscenely out of scale with the rest of the neighborhood. It would contain 1.1 million square feet of floor space, resulting in a Floor Area Ratio (FAR)—a measurement of density relative to the size of the lot—that is almost three times what the property is currently zoned for.
- Approval of 80 Flatbush would set a dangerous precedent for other out-of-scale developments to circumvent zoning restrictions.
The Rockwell Place Garden is not anti-development. Alloy could begin construction tomorrow on a far more sensible 31-story, 400-foot building at 80 Flatbush. This is the type of development the land is currently zoned for, and that would be far more congruous with the architecture of the neighborhood. It would also allow the garden to receive enough sunlight to sustain vegetation.
Because the property at 80 Flatbush is not zoned for such a massive development, the proposal must undergo a Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) before construction can begin. The community board, borough president, city planning commission, city council, and mayor will all need to review and approve the proposal, a process that will span around seven months. The ULURP begins soon, which means now is the time to let the representatives reviewing the proposal know that 80 Flatbush is not in the best interest of the community.
The Boerum Hill Association has created a petition opposing the development, and several other groups, such as Block 80 Flatbush Towers, are taking action. Click here to learn what you can do to help say NO to 80 Flatbush, and #SaveOurSunlight!