BOERUM HILL – Brooklyn Community Board 2‘s Land-Use Committee voted against Alloy Development’s 80 Flatbush project at the committee’s monthly meeting held at St. Francis College Wednesday evening.
Ten committee members voted “no” on the project and one abstained to cheers from the audience. Committee member, Bill Flounoy, abstained from voting, explaining he is on the Downtown Brooklyn CLS (Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn) BID. “I shouldn’t take a stance one way or another,” he said after the meeting. “I didn’t feel comfortable voting because I’m on the BID.”
The committee vote follows the public hearing that was held on March 28 as part of the 80 Flatbush rezoning ULURP process. Borough President Eric Adams will host the next public hearing on Monday, April 30 at Brooklyn Borough Hall at 6pm. The full Community Board 2 vote be held during its next General Board meeting scheduled for May 9.
“Show your perseverance and turn out to the Borough President’s hearing,” CB2 Land-Use Committee Chair, Irene Janner, advised. “The Borough President, because of the tight time frames, will be holding his hearing but [will] wait for the Community Board’s decision before rendering his own. He’s been very cooperative with us.”
Alloy’s plan for the 80 Flatbush site includes building two mixed-use towers, one 38 stories and the other 74 stories, featuring 700 market-rate apartments and 200 permanently affordable units. The project also includes a 15,000-square-foot cultural space, 40,000-square-foot ground floor commercial/retail space, and two new schools—a new facility for the Khalil Gibran International Academy High School as well as a new 350-seat elementary school.
The developer is requesting that the project site—bounded by Flatbush Avenue, State Street, 3rd Avenue, and Schermerhorn Street—be rezoned to allow the development to rise much higher than the current zoning allows. The FAR (floor-area ratio) for the site is currently 6.5—Alloy wants it increased to 18. If approved, the taller of the two proposed new towers would rise 986 feet tall.
“If you read the City Planning website, this FAR only belongs in Downtown or Midtown Manhattan, nowhere else,” Janner told BKLYNER following Wednesday’s meeting. “This would triple anything we have [in the neighborhood]. They want it to go to 18. The highest [building] right now in Downtown Brooklyn is 12.”
Janner assisted in compiling all the testimony from the first public hearing and says that the responses are “overwhelmingly against” the project, with reasons including the project’s impact on the neighborhood’s character, traffic, public transit; the increase in the FAR; the towers blocking the sunlight; and more.
“There are so many [reasons],” Janner says of her own opposition to the project. “Sometimes you have a ULURP that you might conditionally approve because you can tweak it. This is way beyond tweaking.”
“I have brought up many times when we have met with the Department of City Planning, ‘You screwed the Downtown Brooklyn zoning and now you want us to pay for it,'” she continued. “It was only supposed to be 900 some odd units of housing in the Downtown Brooklyn zoning, and the rest was supposed to be commercial. Now they’re crying they didn’t get office space but they never did anything to stop the trend.”
Janner also argues that a special zoning of the Downtown Brooklyn District designated a height limitation area on Schermerhorn Street and the Flatbush Avenue Extension to serve as a transitional zone.
“They agreed that we need a transition from the large commercial areas and the surrounding brownstone neighborhoods and they constantly seek to violate [this],” she said. “We took the idea of transitional and step-down zones very seriously because it protects our neighborhoods, our residences, the whole character of this area…. The definition of transitional zones is to buffer residential from commercial, it’s right on the City Planning website. They are doing everything opposed to their own documents, and they don’t care,” she added.
Community Board 2’s vote on the 80 Flatbush project is advisory only. Following the Borough President’s public hearing on April 30 (6pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall), Alloy’s proposal will be reviewed by the City Planning Commission, the City Council, and then the Mayor.