Brooklyn Community Board Shoots Down Boerum Hill Resi Towers and Schools
Brooklyn’s Community Board 2 overwhelmingly voted down a controversial plan to develop a massive five-building development with 900 apartments and two schools at 80 Flatbush Avenue, along the border between Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn.
After the board’s land use use committee unanimously disapproved the proposal from Alloy Development and the New York City Educational Construction Fund last month, the full board ultimately voted last night to disapprove the project with 32 members in favor, one opposed, five abstaining and two recusing.
The community board vote is advisory in nature, but it is an official step in the city’s seven-month-long Uniform Land Use Review Process, which Alloy must undergo in order to secure a rezoning for its development. The decision comes after a heated public hearing hosted last week by the borough president’s office, which brought testimony from the likes of neighbors, unions, transportation advocates and pro-development activists.
Within the next month, Borough President Eric Adams will issue a recommendation on the project. After him, 80 Flatbush needs approvals from the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
Alloy and ECF hope to build a 1.3-million-square-foot complex with 922 rental units, 200 of which would rent for below-market rates, as well as two 350-seat public schools, offices, retail and a cultural center. Neighbors are particularly frustrated by the height of the project’s two towers, which would top out at 74 and 38 stories. The larger, 986-foot-tall building, they argue, would overshadow the Williamsburgh Savings Bank across the street and the adjacent brownstones on State Street. It may also reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches nearby community gardens.
Before the vote, Dwight Smith, a member of the community board and the Boerum Hill Association, stood up and said: “I’d like to clarify, on behalf of the Boerum Hill Association and most Boerum Hillers, an unfortunate misperception our YIMBY [Yes In My Backyard] friends have. We’re not against development. That is not an anti-development stance. Forty stories is not anti-development. We strongly support intelligent development and make clear what we strongly oppose: a totally insensitive development project.”
After the meeting, Alloy President AJ Pires said in a statement, “We appreciate that the community board took the time to review our application. While we respect its position, we’ve also received a lot of support for the project, both in the neighborhood and citywide. The consensus among those many supporters is that building in Downtown Brooklyn along Flatbush Avenue and across from one of the largest transit hubs in the city to deliver affordable housing, two schools and cultural space makes 80 Flatbush a model for intelligent development.”