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Giant 80 Flatbush project begins public review; Boerum Hill neighbors mostly object

The Brooklyn Paper, in a 6/30/17 article headlined Unfair trade: New schools do not justify building Boerum Hill high-rises, neighbors say, was the only news outlet (as far as I know) to cover the first step in the public review process for the proposed 80 Flatbush project, two towers (one 920 feet) at Flatbush and Third avenues, and State and Schermorhorn streets. It requires a special rezoning.

I wrote about the proposal in April, suggesting that this site--bordering major avenues and also low-rise residential blocks--might be a harbinger for the percolating Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Site 5 project a few blocks south.

The Brooklyn Paper reported:
Boerum Hill residents turned out in force on Wednesday night to voice their opposition to two huge towers with unprecedented density proposed for the edge of their brownstone-lined nabe. Plans for the mega-development include a new elementary school and rebuilt high school, but locals said they should not have to watch skyscrapers rise just to get necessary infrastructure.
“The fact that the proposed plan would bring super-tall buildings is unacceptable, and the community should not be burdened in a trade-off for much needed benefits,” said Howard Kolins, president of civic group the Boerum Hill Association. “We need a lot of things, but towers are not one of them.”
The counter-arguments, of course, are a new school, a new home for an existing school, and affordable housing--all part of that inevitable tension between density and benefits. Project supporters included the principal of the existing Khalil Gibran International Academy and a representative of the Arab American Support Center.

At least according to this article, there were no public supporters representing affordable housing groups, but I wouldn't be surprised if some emerge. Notably absent from public criticism was local Council Member Steve Levin, who's expressed an openness to the plan, if not outright support. Levin's role is key in the requested rezoning.

The Brooklyn Paper's comment section continued the debate, including some arguing the site's in Boerum Hill, while others emphasizing the connection to busy Flatbush Avenue and the nearby transit hub. One commenter indeed emphasized affordability.

Wrote Sid from Boerum Hill:
Reasonable people can disagree and Howard Kolins is one of the more reasonable people I know. I am also a Boerum hill board member I am also a member of community board 2 which covers this area. In fact a made the motion years ago to support the entire downtown rezoning that increases the density which allowed most of the recent construction ...although the city has predicted most of the construction would be commercial not residential although I personally assumed residential. But that included step down zoning between downtown and brownstone neighborhoods. A far of 18 is much too high for this block.
If the project proceeds, expect negotiations and a scale down from the proposal. That's how it works.

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