The City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning voted yesterday to approve a residential upzoning that will allow for a 13-floor development with 278 rental apartments, a church, and retail at 312 Coney Island Avenue in Windsor Terrace.
The Subcommittee’s vote was unanimous, and support from the local Council Member, Brad Lander, means the full Council will almost certainly approve it. 70 of the building’s 278 units will be income-targeted under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program, with rents ranging from $856 a month for a studio to $1,504 for a three-bedroom.
The proposal has been subject to local opposition; Brooklyn Community Board 7 earlier voted against approval for the rezoning. A group of local residents accused Lander of preventing them from speaking at the Council hearing and misleading the public in his interactions with the site’s developer, JEMB Realty.
“Brad Lander was meeting behind closed doors with the developers since 2017 and in an unprecedented maneuver shut out the public from even speaking at the final public forum on this controversial zoning,” said Harry Bubbins of the local coalition, Respect Brooklyn, in a press release. “It shows the power of money in politics that seems to be impacting his campaign for Comptroller.”
Lander said he returned campaign donations connected with JEMB Realty and negotiated with the developer to reduce the height of the building along Ocean Parkway and ensure the 70 MIH units were within the most affordable available income bracket. But he acknowledged that many local residents would likely remain unsatisfied.
“I share the frustration of many New Yorkers with a planning process that too often presents communities with reactive choices rather than including them in the process of shaping their neighborhoods,” Lander said in a statement released after the Council hearing. “Unfortunately, our ability to shape this proposal at the City Council is limited, and there is good reason to believe that rejecting the proposal outright will result in an even taller hotel or self-storage facility.”
Lander’s concerns appear to be well-founded; a self-storage unit was recently constructed elsewhere on Park Circle. JEMB Realty has frequently suggested they would build a hotel if the rezoning was not approved.
Respect Brooklyn has also criticized the International Baptist Church, the entity that owns the land, for the right-wing political stances of some of its clergy, including support for President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association.
Council approval is among the last steps in the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which governs rezoning applications. If the Council votes to approve it, the proposal will go to the Mayor for a final sign-off.