Brad Lander Comes Out Against Cobble Hill Rezoning for LICH Development

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    On Wednesday, City Council Member Brad Lander officially announced he will not support the controversial rezoning of the former Long Island College Hospital site in Cobble Hill — contrary to the position of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

    Learn what this means for the proposed development.

    The plan to redevelop the LICH site has been fraught from the beginning. Back in 2013, when the State University of New York first tried to sell the multi-block site, they kicked off a lengthy public bid process punctuated by lawsuits. It wasn’t until September that developer Fortis Property Group finally inked the $240,000,000 agreement.

    In October, the developer revealed two potential plans for the site: an as-of-right option that now includes a 35-story condo tower and possible mega-dorm; and another with a 37-story condo building, school, and affordable housing that would need to go before the city’s uniform land-use review process (ULURP).

    LICH-as-of-right-Fortis

    A diagram showing the as-of-right plan, via Fortis

    Brad Lander, Councilman of District 39 (including Cobble Hill), attended a Cobble Hill Association meeting Tuesday night where he announced his position against a rezoning, reported Politico.

    Although Lander isn’t a fan of either of Fortis’ development plans, he said that the community doesn’t want more residential development, even if it comes with perks like a school or affordable housing, Politico said.

    The councilman conducted a survey of 427 community residents and found that the majority opposed rezoning the area. Fortis has conducted their own survey, and reported the opposite — that most Cobble Hill residents are in favor of the rezoning option.

    So what does Lander’s opposition mean for Fortis?

    Even if Lander turns the City Council against a rezoning, the developer can still build the as-of-right plan without city approval. They’ll just make less money. Towers will go up next to the Cobble Hill historic district, but there will be fewer new residents.

    Given the lengthy timeline these projects require, the current as-of-right plan will likely see further changes before any construction begins.

    Lander and de Blasio campaigned against the closing of the Long Island College Hospital and the sale of the site. De Blasio’s administration has since come out in support of the rezoning plan.

    [Source: Politico NY | Top photos: Barbara Eldredge and via Brad Lander]

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