If you’ve passed through Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, or Fort Greene recently, you’ve probably noticed a lot of new development. High-rise buildings and corporate retail are overtaking the area, particularly along Flatbush Avenue. While much of this growth is good, it’s important that Brooklyn develops in harmony with its existing communities, not at their expense. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work this way.
80 Flatbush, a massive building proposal from Alloy Development that is about to undergo a months-long review process, is not as beneficial to the community as the developers would like you to believe. Installing a 74-story tower in an area already suffering from over-congestion would create a number of problems for the community’s residents, as well as some of its institutions. One such institution is the Rockwell Place Bear’s Community Garden, a public green space that has been cared for by community volunteers for close to 40 years.
As part of the proposal for 80 Flatbush, Alloy Development was required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This is what it has to say about its impact on the garden and surrounding open spaces:
"The Rockwell Place Bears Community Garden, the BAM South Plaza at 300 Ashland Place, and Temple Square would experience significant adverse impacts as a result of the proposed actions. The proposed actions would cause these resources to receive less than four hours of direct sun. Given the duration and extent of incremental shadow, the use and character of these open spaces could be altered and the health of the vegetation found within the open spaces could be significantly affected by new project-generated shadows."
Plant life cannot survive with only four hours of sunlight per day, and the construction of a 74-story tower at 80 Flatbush would destroy the garden's ability to sustain vegetation.
The Rockwell Place Garden is not anti-development. Alloy could begin construction tomorrow on a far more sensible 31-story, 400-foot building at 80 Flatbush. This is the type of development the land is currently zoned for, and that would be far more congruous with neighborhood and its architechture. It would also allow the garden to receive enough sunlight to sustain vegetation. To flaunt zoning restrictions and lobby for a development over twice the size of what is currently permitted and that would cast a shadow over a significant portion of the community is something we not only cannot support, but that we will fight to prevent from happening.
We’ve set a goal of $1,000 to cover expenses like the large vinyl signs we’ve posted above the garden, posters, flyers, pamphlets, and other campaign materials. The garden operates on a yearly budget of only a few hundred dollars, and exhausting this on the fight to #SaveOurSunlight would prevent us from being able to purchase enough compost, vegetation, tools, and other materials necessary to keep the garden healthy. Any donated money not spent on the #SaveOurSunlight campaign will be fed back into the garden.
For more information, visit saveoursunlight.org
- Jill Everett
- Melissa Noble
- Neville Nagarwalla
- Jennifer Rusk
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