Sections

Arrested development: Judge halts controversial Crown Heights project amid legal battle

Going up: Developers Cornell Realty and Carmel Partners' proposed 16-story towers near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

A Kings County Supreme Court judge slapped a controversial mixed-use development with a temporary restraining order on April 17, after local anti-gentrification advocates claimed the developer used every trick in the book to avoid having to preform a state-mandated environmental-review process, while the city let them get away with it to pave the way for more affordable housing.

We fought the Department of City Planning, and watched our elected officials allow the developer to lie on their applications, so they did not have to be held accountable for creating the largest residential complexes in Brooklyn,” said Alicia Boyd, founder of anti-gentrification group Movement to Protect the People.

The city awarded developers Cornell Realty and Carmel Partners the rights to build two 16-story towers near Franklin Avenue and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 40 Crown St. and 931 Carroll St. following a rezoning process that capped off with a December Council vote, where Crown Heights Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo wielded her key vote as the area’s representative to green-light the project, in exchange for the developer’s promise to expand the project’s affordable-housing component from 140 to 258 units.

But Boyd’s suit — which names the Department of City Planning and Cumbo as co-defendants, in addition to Cornell — alleges that the developers lied on re-zoning and building documents to underplay the scope of their proposed mixed-use project, misstating the amount of new residential units included in the development and ignoring vast swaths of affected land in a preliminary assessment of the project.

And fudging the numbers allowed the developers to illegally circumvent a much more thorough environmental review of the project, which the advocates claim would have demonstrated a serious strain on local sewers, roads, and schools as a result of the towers and the influx of new Crown Heights residents they would attract.

Lawyers for the city, meanwhile, claim that their rezoning process was conducted by the books, and that the new temporary restraining order will not prevent the project from moving forward.

“This suit seeks to block over a hundred units of permanently affordable housing for the community. We stand by the city’s review and will thoroughly defend it in court,” said Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department. “This very limited TRO enjoins the pouring of concrete, which is many months away. Soil tests are proceeding at the site.”

Lawsuits alleging illegal or inappropriate action amid the city’s public review process for rezoning applications are not uncommon, and a similar suit was filed by the Legal Aid Society in an effort to block the extremely controversial Bedford-Union Armory development.

Boyd and the city are expected to appear before Kings County Supreme Court justice Johnny Lee Baynes for a hearing on May 5.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 1:46 pm, April 23, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Charles from Bklyn says:
Not surprised, at all.
April 23, 11:20 am
Robert from Park Slope says:
"effected" should be "affected" The first sentence of the second paragraph should start with a quotation mark.
April 23, 12:40 pm
AC from Upper West Side says:
I will preface what I'm about to say by saying this: I am very pro-development, and I love tall buildings. However, in this particular case, I support and agree with the halting of construction. Brooklyn Botanical Garden is a city treasure and a crucial aspect of everything in the city, and we need to do our damndest to protect it. A strict height cap here actually works, and it should be left, maybe altered slightly At this moment, I would also like to rescind support for 960 Franklin, but I believe that the community and the developers need to work together to figure a good alternative, one that can offer a robust amount of affordable housing while still protecting the garden
April 23, 1:12 pm
Jim from Baltimore says:
Perhaps they could add plant lighting to the inside of the conservatory and maybe outside as well to be used overnight, and the new building could pay the electric bill as part of its maintenance fee. The building could even add solar panels to offset their increased electricity cost from the garden.
April 23, 5:06 pm
sally jones from crown heights says:
these large tall buildings should not go up! or developers should alter their height so that it does not impact the bbg and their plants. the BBG has been here many many years and its trees, plants, flowers, and bushes add beauty, oxygen and life to the area, i have enjoyed the bbg for many years and do not want to see its plants, etc decimated by a lack of sun and light. our neighborhood cares about the environment and these towers would tax the area, and its infrastructure. going back to the table to hash out their differences could help.
April 29, 7:35 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: