Judge throws out anti-626 Flatbush Ave. lawsuit

Lefferts Gardens anti-tower lawsuit is toast

The Brooklyn Paper
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A judge has tossed out the lawsuit that halted construction on a 23-story tower at 626 Flatbush Ave. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The judge ruled that a cursory assessment of the high-rise’s impact on the Prospect-Park-side neighborhood passes muster, but community members are not having it.

“That’s very hard to believe considering this is such an unprecedented building in our neighborho­od,” said Quest Fanning, a member of the Prospect Park East Network, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

It may be on the other side of Empire Boulevard, but 28-story Tivoli Towers has loomed over Crown Street at Franklin Avenue, a block from the park, since 1979.

The coalition of community members brought the suit in a last-ditch effort to stop the tower from rising, claiming that it will crowd the area, cast a nature-harming shadow over Prospect Park, and drive neighborhood rents through the roof. The project is slated to contain 254 apartments, 50 of them below market-rate.

Zoning of the property between Fenimore and Hawthorne streets allows for developer Hudson Companies’ skyscraping vision to be made concrete without special permission. But because the project is using a $72 million loan from the state, a preliminary review of the complex’s impact was conducted by the Housing Finance Authority. It found the project would not substantially affect the area — and the judge agreed.

“HFA took the requisite ‘hard look,’ ” Judge Peter Moulton wrote in his decision. “The agency carefully weighed the environmental consequences of the project and found them to be slight.”

Neighbors fear a Lefferts building boom because the area lacks height restrictions, though other neighborhoods around Brooklyn’s backyard have them.

Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D–Prospect Lefferts Gardens) is calling for a temporary moratorium on development in the district, spokesman David Suarez said.

Fanning hopes the community’s resistance to Hudson will send a message to other prospective builders.

“If someone wants to come to the neighborhood and build something out of scale, they’ll know we’re going to fight it,” Fanning said.

The group plans to appeal the latest ruling, he added.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
"We need to keep Brooklyn expensive for the benefit of existing property owners," said Mathieu Eugene (D–Landlords and Incumbent Interests). "I represent the people who have money, not people who would like to move to New York City for its great opportunities."

Maybe I'm being too hard on Mr. Eugene. My councilmember, Antonio Reynoso, is just as bad.
June 19, 2014, 6:32 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
LOL Mike–there are many negative things that could be said about Dr. Eugene who, IMO, is the least competent member of the Council, but he'd never write or, despite his many shortcomings, even believe anything like your fabricated quotation.
June 19, 2014, 9:29 am
former CB member says:
It's bad enough when community board members call for moratoriums, but elected officials really should know better. There is nothing in the Zoning Resolution (or the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, etc.) that provides for a time-out. Calling for a moratorium makes Councilman Eugene look like he is doing something when in fact he is doing nothing.

Bob, council members may be a bit like post offices ... everyone assumes their's is the worst. I don't know them all but just in Brooklyn, Darlene Mealy is widely considered the worst.
June 19, 2014, 9:46 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Well, Bob, Mathieu Eugene can use whatever words he wants in pursuit of protecting the income streams of the landlords, but the policies he supports give his game away.
June 19, 2014, 9:52 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
That may well be "former CB member". Still, CM Eugene is no prize and it rankles even more because districts surrounding PLG have some of the most effective Council Members (i.e. Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander).
June 19, 2014, 9:56 am
Bob Marvin from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
Notwithstanding the possible shortcomings of our Council Member, and whatever the outcome of the appeal and the eventual height of 626 Flatbush, the real battle here is for contextual zoning similar to what already exists in other neighborhoods surrounding Prospect Park. I applaud the Prospect Park East Network for increasing neighborhood awareness of this issue!
June 19, 2014, 11:36 am
Quest Fanning from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
I would point out that Tivoli Towers is far from the Park and outside of PLG
June 19, 2014, 12:25 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
let me backtrack on my last comment. try to steal the power tools from the site 1st. if that doesnt work, then burn it down to the ground.
June 19, 2014, 1:52 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
As of right doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. It's ok for Park Slope to have a 50 foot zoning maximum height, but not on the other side of the park? We all know what this is all about.
June 19, 2014, 5:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Once again, a developer wins thanks to having friends in high places, which shows how much money talks.
June 19, 2014, 7:45 pm
Jay from NYC says:
once again Tal raises his head up and shows the world that not only is he against smarter more efficient transportation options he is also against more efficient land use as well. In my opinion that means Tal is an Anti-efficienite.
June 19, 2014, 8:03 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
No, it's not ok that Park Slope is underzoned. But Park Slope also doesn't have Flatbush Ave, the main road of the whole borough. If you can't build densely there, where can you?
June 20, 2014, 6:38 am
Curious George says:
Actually, Charles, I may not know what this is all about. What I see is, a developer is constructing a building consistent with zoning. Please elaborate on your rather oblique comment. Thanks.
June 20, 2014, 10:25 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay, if this was being built around where you live, would you be supporting it then or act like a NIMBY to it?
June 20, 2014, 5:10 pm
Jay from Tal says:
Tal it is being built around where I live, and I do support this and many other building being built. In fact I would like to see a couple thousand more buildings built like this..Brooklyn really needs redevelopment and improved housing stock. Its important for many reasons. If you actually lived here you might understand things a bit better. You see Tal not everyone who posts on this board lives out of town, many of us actually do live in brooklyn.
June 21, 2014, 7:06 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Jay, how much did the developer pay you to say this, because I will pay you double to get back at him?
June 21, 2014, 8:11 pm

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