Despite being accused of outrageous tactics, Prospect Lefferts Gardens community group MTOPP, or The Movement to Protect the People, has been largely successful in its efforts so far. Now that the group has succeeded in rescinding Community Board 9’s request for a zoning study, as we reported last week, it is calling for a new zoning study of the area as well as a series of public meetings to come up with a new resolution to send to City Planning asking for the zoning study.
The group has always contended the resolution Community Board 9 sent to City Planning was written without adequate public input and did not reflect the wishes of the community, a charge Community Board 9 has denied.
“The resolution called for increased residential and retail density on commercial and transit corridors, putting 101 blocks of the study area (half of our district) on the table for upzoning,” MTOPP member Elizabeth Mackin told us. “Our community has repeatedly called for contextual zoning and downzoning. This was not reflected in the resolution at all.”
In fact, the resolution did call for zoning to preserve the “existing character of the neighborhood,” specifically to “prevent/limit of context i.e. high-rise development in the R7-1 zoned areas of the district.” But, as Mackin said, it also called for increased density and “contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corridors, including Empire Boulevard.” (You can read the whole thing on Community Board 9’s website.) In the past, MTOPP’s Alicia Boyd told us MTOPP opposes any rezoning of Empire Boulevard. The street, pictured above, is zoned for commercial only, so land values and development so far have not become heated as they have in other parts of the borough.
“MTOPP maintains that a large scale upzoning of our community will invite rapid development of luxury residential housing that will, in turn, cause massive direct and indirect displacement, as we have seen in Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn and Park Slope’s 4th Avenue,” Mackin continued.
She added, “MTOPP is also not anti-development or anti-gentrification,” which confused us — we thought they were anti-gentrification. “MTOPP is fighting to preserve the affordable rental housing in Community District 9, almost 94 percent of which is rent-stabilized or otherwise subsidized,” she said.
Meanwhile, the group is allegedly considering a lawsuit to remove current members of Community Board 9 on the grounds of fraud or incompetence concerning the miscount of the vote to rescind the resolution calling for a zoning study, according to published reports. We asked, but MTOPP did not say anything about its plans.
What are your thoughts on a downsizing of Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a change of the guard for Community Board 9, and a zoning study of the neighborhood?
MTOPP Coverage [Brownstoner]
Update: Check out Alicia Boyd discussing the original zoning proposal in great detail in this MTOPP video here. Boyd convincingly argues in the video that the resolution as drafted could result in the upzoning of much of the neighborhood that is not already a designated historic district. She also puts forth an appealing vision of Empire Boulevard remade with sidewalk cafes, boutiques, garden stores, and parking.