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Today on BPR: Pol gives an inside scoop on the ongoing 80 Flatbush negotiations ahead of Council vote

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It’s down to the wire.

The Boerum Hill councilman whose aye or nay will likely decide the fate of a polarizing five-building complex proposed to rise at the edge of his district delayed a Monday Council vote on the project to Thursday, the last possible day it can occur, because he’s still not happy with what the developer of 80 Flatbush is bringing to the table.

“We are still in discussions about how we’re going proceed with the vote, it’s a particularly complicated project,” said Councilman Stephen Levin.

Levin, who on Monday spoke to this newspaper hours after he pushed Council’s vote on a rezoning necessary for the development to proceed, will join an all-new episode of Brooklyn Paper Radio this afternoon to weigh in on the negotiations he is hammering out behind closed doors with builder Alloy Development as the hard-and-fast deadline approaches.

Council’s vote on the rezoning must fall within a set amount of time after the Department of City Planning issues its own recommendation, according to the guidelines of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, and the agency voted in favor of the request on Aug. 6, making the local lawmakers’ Sept. 20 Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises meeting their last opportunity to weigh in, according to Levin.

Bigwigs at Dumbo-based Alloy need the rezoning in order to erect their five-building complex, which would include two newly built 986- and 560-foot towers along with three rehabilitated properties on land bounded by Flatbush and Third avenues and State and Schermerhorn streets. Together, the structures would hold some 900 apartments, 200 of which would be below-market-rate, along with two new schools, and cultural and commercial spaces.

But in order to break ground, the city must sign off on an upzoning that would nearly triple the plot’s allowable floor-area ratio — a zoning measurement abbreviated as “far” that determines how high a structure can be relative to the size of the land it is on — from 6.5 to 18.

And had the project as is come to the floor for a vote on Monday, Levin would have said “nay.”

“I wouldn’t vote in favor of the proposal that came out of the City Planning Commission, to that extent no, I couldn’t support that proposal,” he said.

The Councilman previously told the Brooklyn Paper he would not support the development if its residential towers exceeded a floor-area ratio of 12 — the maximum size local civic group the Boerum Hill Association proposed — and on Monday reiterated that is his magic number, not including the floor-area ratios of the two school spaces.

“Basically I’m in line close to the Boerum Hill Association, where they said a far of 12, plus the schools,” he said. “I’d find it difficult to go above 15 far with the schools included.”

The ulurp process requires the rezoning application to next go before Mayor DeBlasio regardless of the Council vote, and Hizzoner can either veto the body’s decision or give it his stamp of approval.

A rep for DeBlasio, whose administration advocated for 80 Flatbush citing the new desks it would bring to an overcrowded school district at no capital cost to the city, said he could not comment on whether his boss would overrule the legislators if they voted the rezoning down.

But Levin said he’s never seen DeBlasio, nor his predecessor Mayor Bloomberg, use that power in his more than eight years in office — and he’s not worried about this being a first instance.

“I’ve never heard of that being considered,” he said.

Tune in this afternoon around 2:30 pm to hear more of the pol’s thoughts on the project, and the latest from his ongoing discussions with the developer — and don’t forget to call in at (718) 260–4502 with your own comments or questions.

Brooklyn Paper Radio is recorded and podcast live on Tuesday afternoons — for your convenience — from our studio in America’s Downtown and can be found, as always, right here on BrooklynPaper.com, on iTunes, and of course, on Stitcher.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:17 pm, September 18, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
It's a shame that Levin is allowed to gentrify outlying neighborhoods to protect a community garden from having to switch to plants that need less direct sunlight. But I have to fault the council members in the areas that will face displacement for respecting the tradition that the local council member gets to approve or deny rezonings. Poorer areas ought to rebel and force the density on the rich neighborhood with all the transit.
Sept. 18, 11:17 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
The reason I can characterize the objections as so petty is I listened to hours of testimony before both the city planning commission and city council. And the complaints are the most selfish and petty ones you can imagine. Coming from people who already have it all.
Sept. 18, 11:19 am
Pedro from Boerum Hill says:
Mike! From Williamsburg! Did you speak at the City Council hearing? If so I must have missed it. Glad you are still obsessed with commenting on this project. There are so many reasons to be against this travesty, which is why the very diverse CB 2 voted it down 32-1 (!), and JoAnne Simon, Velmanette Montgomery, Walter Mosley, Tish James ALL came out against the project, and BP Adams disapproved it as well. The enmity towards this overreach is vast and deep, and not confined to a few gardeners or brownstone owners. Levin is doing the right thing by actually representing his constituents. If Alloy and Hizzoner can’t come up with a reasonable plan they can build as of right or try again.
Sept. 18, 12:18 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
No, I spoke at the city planning commission hearing and only listened/watched the council hearing. At the borough hearing, Tish James complained that she used to be able to find her way out of Prospect Park by finding the Williamsburg Bank tower and now she can't, if you want an example of how dumb the politicians' objections were. The enmity to the project is concentrated in the wealthy property-owner class.
Sept. 18, 1:26 pm
Alexandria Ciudad-Juarez from Isle of Palms says:
Looks great, hope they build it! As is! Remember Letitia James and the other losers who were opposed to the Barclays center. Imagine if that had never been built. Travesty.
Sept. 18, 1:39 pm
Pedro from Boerum Hill says:
Mike, You are incorrect - many examples to the contrary - for example FUREE, the Brooklyn-based, member-led organization fighting for racial, gender and economic justice came out AGAINST the project. Maybe you missed the low income people opposing the project from the YWCA, who are going to be decimated by the 8-10 years of construction (they will be pushed out most likely). They were at all the hearings. The billionaire, developer class is pushing this upzoning all over the city, from Inwood to Bushwick, and people are sick of it. If you want to side with them go for it. And I mean this literally, Alloy is funded by a billionaire from Vero Beach. No one in our community said we were against all development, but putting a FAR of 18 in a transitional block is just nuts. Thankfully it looks like Levin will hold the line, despite the mayor's bullying.
Sept. 18, 1:50 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Yes, I will side with the people who want to build enough housing for everyone. That's my whole point. The opposite approach is immoral. To address the "transitional" block, Boerum Hill should be upzoned from its 19th century density. It got subway access since then.
Sept. 18, 2:41 pm

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