Brooklyn Friends School is a friend indeed.
The Downtown Brooklyn private school is moving away from a controversial plan to build a new educational center on State Street in nearby Boerum Hill, and is now looking at three other sites that do not require a tough-to-get rezoning, said Michael Nill, the head of school.
“Acquiring [the State Street] site for the school is not impossible, but it would take an effort to get community approval,” Nill said.
Angry neighbors on the block between Hoyt and Bond streets met with school representatives in early October to protest the Quaker school’s proposal for a five-story, 400-student elementary school that would replace the existing facility on Pearl Street. Neighbors complained that heavy traffic and noise would result if the project was approved. That protest irked other neighbors who support the expansion because it would bring a high-quality school to their block.
Nill would not say where the new locations are, but said that they are already zoned for high rises, unlike the low-rise zoning at the State Street location, which would also need approval from the Empire State Development Corporation because the lot is actually state-owned.
The announcement was hailed by some residents of State Street.
“Sure, we’re relieved it may not happen in this location, though we still think Brooklyn Friends would be an asset to our community,” said Alex Guillot, who opposed the State Street proposal, but suggested an empty lot at the corner of Hoyt and Schermerhorn streets in hopes that the school would build there. “There are plenty of places around where everyone would have benefitted, without putting strain on our blocks.”
Nill promised an official announcement on the new site in spring.