Group Says It Plans to Sue Over Planned High-Rise Development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

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A group of residents and community groups said yesterday they intend to sue to stop development of a planned 23-story luxury tower at 626 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The suit against New York State Housing Finance Agency and developer Hudson Companies Inc. contends that more than $72 million in public funds were approved for the development without a “proper environmental impact study as required by state law,” according to a press release sent out by the group.

“The building in Prospect Lefferts Gardens would be in the midst of a neighborhood that is otherwise largely comprised of six-story or smaller buildings, and would present serious economic and environmental issues for the historic neighborhood,” the release continued.

The group includes the Prospect Park East Network, Flatbush Development Corporation, Flatbush Tenant Coalition and Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association, among others. The group plans to hold a press conference to announce its lawsuit Thursday at 11 am in Chester Court.

The development by Hudson Companies is as-of-right, which means it complies with all existing zoning regulations and does not need any special permits or variances.

Rendering via Hudson Companies

7 Comment

  • There is a 17 story building about a block from this location; and are they trying to save the environment for the train tracks that run behind this location? Communities should always be wary of large new developments but this one has a particularly weak argument in comparison to others. Flatbush in that area needs some new life anyway.

  • Seems like a waste of time and energy that could be better spent on actual progressive causes for the neighborhood. This isn’t Hudson’s first project, and they know what they’re doing, and presumably have a big team of lawyers to deal with stuff like this. They have permits and funding in place, and the building can be built as of right. Is there any merit to this environmental review angle?

  • Yes, FLH. Months of serious research and discussion by many lawyers, architects, land use experts, elected officials, etc. went into figuring out if there was any basis for an environmental review angle in this case before it was filed. The FOIL request alone produced over 400 pages of documents that needed to be studied against the prevailing case law in the area. There is no way that the” big team of lawyers” who are repping the petitioners in this case — on a pro bono basis — would have taken it if they perceived the environmental review claims to be frivolous. While there’s no guarantee that the petitioners will ultimately win their lawsuit, there is indeed enough merit to the case to at least try it.

  • We need a real PROGRESSIVE-DEMOCRATIC fight on land-use issues in this city. The developers own the process and get away with what ever they want. There is no counter balance of community power in the whole process. Suits are all that are left for communities to correct wrong doings.

    And what can we expect with a new mayor? It looks like deBlasio’s friend and funder, Toll Brothers VP, has already asked him to streamline the City Landuse Process to make it easier for developers.

    The people who makeup the communities of this city need to push back. It is time landuse policies in this city reflected real community democracy. Development must be made to follow the law, and the law must be strengthened to allow for community approval of development, only then will communities get development agreements that serve the people of the city and not corporate share holders of development companies.

  • If the building is as of right (meaning no zoning variances, etc.), how are the developers “getting away with whatever they want”?

    Also, I have to say that the idea that it is very weird that the state is providing that much financing ($72M) to a developer of mostly market-rate units (only 20% is earmarked affordable). But it is even weirder that the state would have to prepare an EIS for its loan.

  • Or another way to look at it (and likely the correct one), is that the lawyers took a look at this and found that given the project is as of right, with no zoning changes required, and financing in place, the only possible way to stop it or slow it down, was to file a suit on environmental grounds. They filed a suit. And anyone can file a suit, especially pro-bono lawyers who have no other cards to play.

  • There is still a huge housing shortage in this town. Build it!