The City Council strongly backed a plan to encourage residential development inside the now mostly commercial “Broadway Triangle” on Monday, but the battle isn’t over as a coalition of 40 North Brooklyn community groups announced an expansion of its earlier lawsuit.
Councilmembers voted 38-10 favor of the rezoning, with the majority believing that the plan’s promise of affordable housing — at least 850 of 1,851 apartments would be set aside at below-market rates — outweigh the ugliness that characterized the plan’s creation, which featured a no-bid city contract awarded to two politically connected groups allied with the borough’s Democratic Party boss.
Even a rezoning supporter, Borough President Markowitz, hinted at the earlier conflicts in a statement issued after the vote.
“I supported this plan because, bottom line, Brooklyn needs more affordable housing built now, and this plan is the most practical way to … get it done,” he said.
The Council vote didn’t surprise the dissenters in the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition, but the group is not going down without a fight. This morning, lawyers will file an amended lawsuit in state Supreme Court against Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development that will be tacked onto the earlier suit filed in September.
The suit contends that a politically corrupt process cut out dozens of community groups from partaking in developing the triangle’s 31 acres of industrial land into a mixed-income community, and that the city acted unethically when it granted development rights to two politically connected groups — the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen Council, both tied to Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick).
City officials maintain that the arrangement was legitimate because both groups submitted proper applications. And on Monday, several councilmembers agreed.
“This is not an Atlantic Yards project that circumvented [the process],” Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn Heights) said at what would be his final hearing in office. The Triangle is in his district and, as such, he played a large role in seeing it get through the Council.
“We’re going to have 800 affordable apartments. We went through the process and had public input.”
Yassky’s neighboring councilmember, Diana Reyna, opposed the rezoning. Reyna was once a protege of Lopez, but the two had a falling out, and she has opposed Lopez’s Broadway Triangle plans ever since.
©2009 Community News Group
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