The proposed development of 960 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn NY is planned as a mixed income residential rental which addresses the dire need for affordable and workforce housing for individuals of all income levels.
Approval of the developer's rezoning request would make way for housing assistance to 789 individuals and families currently at risk of housing instability. Workforce housing is housing for essential workers (teachers, grocery clerks, bus drivers, nurses, firefighters) union workers, community entrepreneurs and others who are rent burdened but don't qualify for “low income”/affordable housing.
960 Franklin Ave is currently zoned an R6A zoning district in which buildings are relatively uniform and low in height.
Continuum Company, the developer for this proposed project is seeking to rezone the area to R9D-C24 zone with no restrictions on building height.
Neighborhood residents are mainly concerned over the impact the rezoning of 960 Franklin Avenue will have on Sunlight coming to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden but in addition the possible change in the dynamic of the neighborhood.
Originally planned for 34 stories as a 1.2M square foot project, according to Ethan Lustig-Elgrably Director of Governmental and Community Affairs at Brooklyn Botanic Garden “ this represents an existential threat to the garden”. The “Fight For Sunlight” petition already has over 50,000 signatures and has a call to action for locals hoping to stop the city from allowing the structure to be built. Again, the main issue is the shadow the project would cast on the garden reducing sunlight by up to 4.5 hours, which would be detrimental to the garden's ecosystem and the way the garden operates.
Other potentially affected areas are the Jackie Robinson Playground, a popular spot for families and children and Medgar Evers College which has a large glass wall which thrives off the sun's beam to light it up.
Area residents have also objected to the aesthetics of the proposed structure which would tower over its surroundings and not fit in.
William Wallace IV, principal for Continuum Company has offered up a plan for a 17 story building instead of the proposed 34 stories. He says “the new building plan would change the 50/50, market rate/affordable rate ratio to 75/25 and in that 25% or 292 apartments there would be no middle class bracket for qualifications.
Continuum Company is now advertising a third possibility, a smaller building containing 518 Condominium apartments without any affordable housing which does not require any city approvals.
To be continued...
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