March 6 – Public Hearing On 960 Franklin Avenue Rezoning Plan


CROWN HEIGHTS — Community Board 9 (CB9) will hold a public hearing this week about rezoning plans proposed to allow developers to construct two 39-story towers on Franklin Avenue, exceeding in size, neighboring Ebbets Field by nearly 300 apartments. The project is proposed at the Old Spice Building on Franklin Avenue between Montgomery Street and Sullivan Place.

Plans released for a development project at the Crown Heights Spice Factory. (Renderings: NYC Planning )
Plans released for a development project at the Crown Heights Spice Factory. (Renderings: NYC Planning)

The CB9 ULURP Committee, which deals with land use and the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) in parts of Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Garden, will vote on whether they’ll recommend the 960 Franklin Avenue Rezoning project to the full Community Board following the hearing. 

The meeting is set for Wednesday, March 6, 2019, at 7:00 pm. CB9 members will meet at the Crown Gardens Community Room at 1185 Carrol St. This meeting is open to the public.

Committee Chair Unella Rhone-Perry said news of the development came a day after their last committee meeting on Feb. 12 and members did not have an opportunity to discuss the plan. The chair invited developers Continuum Company, LLC. and Lincoln Equities Group as well as the borough president’s office to attend the meeting.

The two 39-story towers at Franklin Avenue, between Montgomery St. and Sullivan Pl. propose to develop 1,578 units. Fifty percent could be affordable under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. Affordable apartments are proposed for residents making 80%, 100% and 150% of the area median income (AMI). A single person would need to make at least $58,480 to rent a studio or 1-bedroom in the development.

You can dive into the full environmental impact statement here.

CB9 board members already saw pushback against the plan during last week’s general meeting. A testy squabble ensued between the board’s chair and a resident who exceeded her time limit when addressing the issue. You can view last week’s general meeting here.

Last October, a representative of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden did express concern about this project, based on height and bulk estimates and the potential impact on the gardens from shade cast by the new buildings. A spokesperson reiterated its stance to us just over a week ago.

“Brooklyn Botanic Garden strongly opposes any changes to the existing zoning at 960 Franklin Avenue,” said spokesperson Elizabeth Reina-Longoria.

“Buildings of the proposed height will have a significant, negative, and permanent impact on BBG’s conservatories, greenhouses, and nurserieswhere plants for the entire Garden are propagated and grownby causing the loss of as much as three hours of sunlight daily in spring, summer, and fall. The current zoning must remain in place to protect the Botanic Garden.”

This is the third controversial rezoning project in the area within two years.  First, the Bedford-Union Armory caused mayhem throughout 2017 as did the Franklin Avenue Rezoning Plan,  which passed December 2018.

New York City Department of City Planning (NYCDCP) will host a separate public scoping meeting to address the environmental impact of the project. The public can weigh in on March 12, at 1:00 p.m. at 120 Broadway, in Manhattan at the NYCDCP hearing room on the concourse level.

Here are the guidelines for the upcoming scoping meeting.

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