STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!
On Thursday, August 30th, community members marched around the site of the proposed 80 Flatbush development before gathering in front of the garden to protest overdevelopment.
“It’s too tall! It’s too tall! It’s too tall!”
“When our neighborhoods are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
READ IT NOW:
The Municipal Arts Society submitted a lengthy testimony to the the New York City Planning Commission concerning 80 Flatbush. Titled “Collective Vision for Downtown Brooklyn Needed in 80 Flatbush Rezoning,” the testimony highlights a number of problematic areas of Alloy’s proposal, including the impact it would have on the Rockwell Place Bear’s Community Garden.
“It is evident that between the BAM site and the proposed 80 Flatbush Avenue development, sunlight that reaches RBCBG would be significantly reduced to the extent that it would have a destructive impact on shade intolerant plants, not to mention the public enjoyment of this admired space,” wrote the MAS, adding that “the proposed mitigation measures patently inadequate, warranting reexamination.”
Read the entire testimony here.
Borough President Eric Adams released a statement recommending a height reduction for 80 Flatbush. “Development should acknowledge the height of nearby buildings fronting Flatbush Avenue, State Street, and 3rd Avenue,” wrote Adams. Read his full statement here.
WATCH IT NOW:
- Help our cause by donating to our GoFundMe and signing the Boerum Hill Association’s petition.
- Spread the word by sharing this page on social media, or by visiting the garden at Lafayette and Flatbush and sharing a photo of our banner.
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!