Clinton Hillers rally against proposed seven-story charter school

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A new seven-story high school in Clinton Hill would help turn a tranquil neighborhood into a overcrowded mess by emboldening other builders to build big, argued a neighborhood leader at a hearing on Tuesday.

“It would dramatically and unalterably change the nature and characteristics of our Clinton Hill community,” said David Moore, who is the president of the 15 Quincy Street Tenants Association. “It encourage dangerous precedent for mega buildings throughout our quiet Brooklyn neighborho­od.”

Leaders for Unity Preparatory Charter School are applying for zoning exemptions to build the 100-foot high schoolhouse on Lexington Avenue, between Classon and Grand avenue on land owned by housing advocacy group Impacct Brooklyn.

The Community Board 2 land use committee approved the plan at a February meeting after school officials told the panel it had consulted with locals, but irate neighbors said they knew nothing about it. Minutes of a November tenants association meeting show that the possibility of a school did come up, but no one told residents that the plan was moving forward after that.

Neighbors then appealed to the panel to delay the full board vote so they could make their case before it voted on a recommendation to send onto the Board of Standards and Appeals, and they got their chance at Tuesday’s hearing.

Residents railed against the project, arguing teachers and parents driving their teens to the new schoolhouse will create congestion, especially because it is located on a dead-end street.

And the building containing below-market-rate apartments on Quincy Street currently looks out onto a parking lot where the school would be built, blocking light and air to some apartments that only have rear facing windows.

“You’re going to lock me in,” said tenant Eileen Rivera, who threatened to move away if the proposal is approved. “I’m basically just going to be looking at a brick wall.”

But school officials said that neighbors have nothing to worry about since the majority of student body lives in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, and will walk or take public transportation to school. One teen reassured the room that educators wouldn’t be flooding the streets with cars, anyway, because they’d much rather hop on their bikes.

“Most of the teachers at my school are hippies, they ride their bikes everywhere,” said Tashara Watt.

Currently, kids must travel to the school’s temporary location in Brownsville and leaders want to move the operation closer to teens’ homes, but can’t find any sites they can afford in the booming nabes as cheap as the Impacct lot, according to Unity’s leader.

“The rising prices makes it very hard for us to afford to have a private site in the area, so this site offers just that,” said Josh Beauregard, who is the school’s co-founder. “Without this option, we would not be able to afford to exist in the district.”

Locals maintained that they aren’t opposed the project because they hate education and offered to help find another affordable lot. They instead said they are upset because the same developer behind 15 Quincy is also building the charter school — Manatus Development — and accused it of caring more about cashing in than the people who live there.

“We want them here in our neighborhood but it’s in the wrong place, that block is too small, it’s overbuilt, and the developer is double dipping,” said Nicole Thompson Adams, who has lived in the nabe for 35 years.

Community Board 2’s executive committee will vote on whether to support the school at its meeting on April 24, and will then pass on recommendation to the Board of Standards and Appeals, which will make the final call.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Billy from East End says:
"Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own"
April 21, 2017, 11:28 am
Kente from Clinton Hill says:
It's funny to hear Clinton Hill called affordable. Who's this school principal kidding? Not the people who live here. I'm barely able to pay the rent now and if the landlord raises the rent, I'll probably have to move. Maybe to East New York or Brownsville. Does this charter school have a sweetheart deal? I'd like one of those.
April 21, 2017, 11:34 am
Do'onto from Clinton Hill says:
I thought ImPACCt was not for profit and now I hear they built 15 Quincy as the poor door housing for the Toren downtown. They cashed in hiding the poor from the sight of the rich. I call them lying hypocrites. ImPACCt is just another greedy developer wearing a do gooder mask. What chutzpah!
April 21, 2017, 12:09 pm
Watching Our City Being Given to Developers from Clinton Hill says:
One more deal in which the city sells much of its property on the cheap-in this case- to one of the most repugnant developers : BFC...they are the builders who're trying to develop the Bedford Union Armory in contravention of that Crown Hts community furiously protesting it . Trojan Horse hype...

Owners Cappocia/Ferrara are the mothers' milk of contributors to well as Cuomo...big time quid pro quo. The relinquishing of the city responsibility to build schools...speaks to the lazy hand-off by deBlasio et al to give away the citizens' primogeniture which should be for the greater good. Instead we're continuing to see gifts to privateers who buy our city's inheritance from our pols!

It seems that BFC is leveraging IMPAACT-a non-profit which purports to be the saviors of low income housing...but in fact are in the real estate development business and equally responsible for the displacement & gentrification we're seeing as any predator developer and continues to have a partnership which is onging with BFC for the rear of their 'affordable housing' site.
April 21, 2017, 4:39 pm
Investigate these developers from Fort Greene says:
Before any developer gets another sweetheart deal the press should be exposing the campaign contributions given to the Mayor and local electeds. That's where the story is. These developers are violating the law. The city law clearly states that if you are doing business with the city, you cannot give more than $400. BFC are clearly in violation and have a terrible track record yet they keep getting more properties to develop.
April 21, 2017, 4:57 pm
Rodriguez from Bay Ridge says:
That rendering looks as though it was made using a 1982 computer program. Not that current programs are a guarantee of much. As for the proposed design … what a bunch of miscellany!
April 21, 2017, 8:29 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I love the "If you take away my view of a parking lot, I am gonna move away!" threat. Good riddance.
April 22, 2017, 2:45 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
IMPAACT lies when it needs to, whenever it needs to.
April 22, 2017, 9:07 pm
Ava from Fort Greene says:
Who's paying for this building? Are the voters? Has anyone put a price tag on it? $8,000,000? $10,000,000? How much is this "nonprofit"making on the deal?
April 24, 2017, 11:14 am
Bob W from Clinton Hill says:
If you look on the Department of Buildings Website and view the application for the Low Income Housing building previously built and the proposed building, both owners are listed as Quincy Street Owners, LLC, the real owner (DONALD CAPOCCIA, & Justin Stern).

Low Income Housing Building Application

Proposed School Building Application
April 24, 2017, 2:09 pm
Bob W from Clinton Hill says:
The Board Of Standards and Appeals application has been filed by a company called Classon Avenue Housing Development Funding Company, Inc.

Here is a link to the agreement that Classon Avenue Housing Development Funding Company (front company) has with Quincy Street Owners, LLC, the real owner of the site. This agreement details that Quincy Street Owners, LLC is the “owner” and retains all of the equitable and benefcial ownership interest in the Property.
April 24, 2017, 2:11 pm
Rhonda from Clinton Hill says:
It's an insult, it's like building a giant butt in the neighborhood. Bon donk a donk.
April 24, 2017, 4:22 pm
John from Clinton Hill says:
CB2 Land Use Committe withdrew support for the BSA application tonight!!!! The fight isn't over yet. We must still make our voices heard at the BSA!
April 24, 2017, 10:20 pm
Carl from Clinton Hill says:
Great that the CB backed away from a vote. The BSA is pretty corrupt as far as I know. What people should be planning for is suing Impacct if the BSA approves the absurd variances. Impacct needs to be nailed for double dipping and deception.
April 25, 2017, 2:36 pm

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