Not everyone is in favor of the proposed Boerum Hill Historic District extension.
Six owners of historic shops on Atlantic Avenue, a portion of which is included in the proposed expansion, spoke out against their buildings being included at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on the matter Tuesday.
“Landmarking designation restrictions will severely impact potential small merchant tenants,” said Maureen Lynch, owner of 382 Atlantic Avenue, during her testimony. “We fear that as small-time landlord owners we will be forced for economic reasons to accept chain store tenants who have the deep-pocket resources to deal with landmark restrictions.”
Another building owner on Atlantic bristled that a few steps away, the same landmarking restrictions would not apply. “I want to have the same opportunity as my neighbor,” he said.
Lynch and others made it clear they don’t oppose the extension in general but want Atlantic Avenue removed.
An additional 25 people signed a petition asking for Atlantic Avenue to be removed from the proposal.
A total of 21 people provided testimony in person — 16 during the first part of the hearing, and another five later when the hearing was reopened due to complications from a fire drill.
Boerum Hill residents made up a majority of the speakers, and 15 of the speakers Tuesday were decidedly in favor. Kate Perry, who has lived on State Street since 1981, spoke about the contested stretch of Atlantic Avenue. “We need to preserve this landmarks designation to preserve the historic atmosphere, and the original low-rise buildings that contribute so much to our neighborhood.”
Josephine Haggerty, a resident of Atlantic Avenue, framed the designation against the slew of development happening around her. “With all the tall buildings going up in Boerum Hill, it’s like the Manhattan-ification of Brooklyn,” she said.
The extension has been a long time coming. One was proposed back in 1977.
The Boerum Hill Association proposed an extension of the district again, in 2016. What is currently being proposed is slightly smaller than the 2016 proposal.
Broken up into three sections, the proposed extension will almost double the existing district. The first section will extend the southeast border to Nevins Street and the southern border to Wyckoff Street. To the north, the second section will partially extend the border to a portion of Atlantic Avenue, and to the southwest the border will move partially to Smith Street from its current border of Hoyt Street.
The commission is set to vote on the proposed district on May 29.
[Photos by Susan De Vries]
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