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 Brook