PLG Residents Pack Church for Town Hall Meeting on High-Rise Development

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An overflow crowd estimated at more than 400 people packed a town hall meeting about high-rise development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens last night. Borough President Eric Adams, who lives in the area, State Senator Kevin Parker, Council Member Mathieu Eugene and Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna listened to comments and questions from the audience following a presentation by the Prospect Park East Network, which convened the meeting.

PPEN called for a temporary halt on new development exceeding nine stories while they pursue a lawsuit and downzoning of the area, in process since 2008, “before it becomes a moot point,” said presenter Suki Cheong.

“I don’t have anything against construction because it creates jobs, but this building is too big,” said a resident whose bedroom window overlooks the construction site at 626 Flatbush Avenue where an as-of-right 23-story tower is planned. Another speaker, a resident since 1964, proposed hiring a full-time community organizer, which the neighborhood had in the 1960s. A representative of small business owners said they were concerned that increased land values due to high-rise development were already causing increased rents and shorter leases.

Many residents said they value the friendly, integrated community and don’t want to see it disappear. Many said landlords are trying to increase rents and push out regulated tenants. “Prospect Lefferts Gardens is the most densely populated part of the borough,” said a lifelong resident. “We’re not asking for special treatment, just fairness. We’re asking for the same treatment Mayor de Blasio’s side of the park gets,” he said, referring partly to the 80-foot height limit on construction there.

Click through to the jump to see more photos. Did anyone else attend?

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From left to right above: Eugene, Parker, Adams and Reyna at the table while moderator and PPEN member Celeste Davis speaks.

10 Comment

  • Bob Marvin

    I was there and was very impressed. I think this was the best attended meeting I’ve ever seen in the neighborhood.

  • Montrose Morris

    I wish them the best of luck. There is certainly room for development as well as preservation of the neighborhood’s culture and streetscape. It is possible to build sensibly and well without lining Flatbush Avenue with giant towers. The Trump (Fred, not Donald) built apartment buildings are an example. They are taller than the 6 story apt buildings, with lots of units, and relatively modern, but are not too tall, or obstrusive. They are a good model for future development.

  • daveinbedstuy

    “We’re asking for the same treatment Mayor de Blasio’s side of the park gets,” he said, referring partly to the 80-foot height limit on construction there.”

    Ahhhhhhh, the old Tale of Two Cities thing.

  • If they go with smaller buildings, there will be little to no affordable units. So you gotta pick one side or the other.

    • Montrose Morris

      That’s not necessarily true. That’s what REBNY and developers want you to think, that it’s all or nothing, tall towers or no affordable housing, but it’s just not the case. Other cities manage to do it, and we can too, if we think outside the comfortable box of “that’s the way it’s always been.”

      • Gimme some examples of outside the box pls. The returns for developers/investors won’t justify investment without scale (doesn’t have to be 50 stories) but shorter buildings means less supply which is already facing a huge imbalance.

    • Bob Marvin

      Note that the Prospect Park East Network the organizers of this meeting [along with PLGNA, LMA, and FDC] are looking for contextual zoning, NOT downzoning. This would limit the height, but not the density of new buildings. They could achieve the same volume by covering a larger portion of the lot, something possible, but not required under present zoning. All they’re asking for is zoning similar to what currently exists on the other sides of Prospect Park.

  • NeoGrec

    I wish the community the best of luck too but I fear this is a lost cause. De Blasio is absolutely committed to delivering affordable housing and he’s made it clear that can only be done with density. Doubtful that Eric Adams can do anything to stop it.