After a year of drama and disruption, last night’s Community Board 9 meeting was relatively sane and productive, but the highly anticipated vote on the controversial letter to City Planning to request a zoning study of Prospect Lefferts Gardens did not happen. Here is what did happen:
*The letter was sent back to the land-use committee for a vote because the previous vote turned out to be invalid. People were voting who weren’t actually members of the committee, and the vote was taken after the meeting had already been adjourned, which is against the rules. We were expecting a presentation on the land-use committee’s recommendation, but perhaps because the matter was sent back to committee for a vote, there was none.
*Acting chair Laura Imperiale and MTOPP leader and activist Alicia Boyd agreed on something: Now there is a new threat to the existing character of the neighborhood — and all neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New York City. A “text amendment” to the building code, buried in Mayor de Blasio’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan, would effectively wipe out hard-won height limits in “contextual zoning neighborhoods,” allowing new development 20 to 30 percent higher across the board. The board has two weeks to comment.
Also, City Planning plans to meet on the topic today at 4 pm at Spector Hall at 22 Reade Street in Manhattan. A community rally is scheduled to take place before the meeting, at 3 pm at City Hall.
*MTOPP has asked the D.A. to investigate Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for allegedly breaking the rules of community board appointments (by appointing more than he is allowed), falsifying documents about the appointments, and rezoning 18 lots in PLG to allow residential development with no public input. (We’re just summarizing MTOPP’s allegations — whether or not there’s any substance to them is TBD.) MTOPP also called for the resignation of the board and leveled a variety of other accusations against some of its members.
There was also a fracas over holding public meetings on religious holidays and an outburst concerning the conduct of board member Tim Thomas — all accompanied by accusations of racism.
One big change at this meeting was that there was an opportunity for public comment. The comments didn’t really seem to factor into any decisions the board was making, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, we feel.
Not all public comments concerned the zoning study, but all who spoke on the matter seemed to be against asking City Planning to do one. “I feel going ahead and asking City Planning to have a study done is a disaster,” said Grace Betts of Lincoln Road. “This is a complicated matter. The children who were creating hexagon designs [for an art project in an earlier presentation] will not be able to live in this community” if new development goes ahead, she said.
Above, members of the public waiting in line to speak during the public comment session.
Above, MTOPP leader Alicia Boyd has the floor.
Above, a partial view of the crowd who attended the meeting.
Above, another member of the public speaks.
First photo: A local artist speaks during the public comment section.