Solitary voice: CB2 member reveals why he cast lone vote in favor of megadevelopment panned by his panel

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This “aye” saw a different way forward.

The civic gurus who voted against a rezoning proposal for a divisive megadevelopment on the edge of Boerum Hill are shortsighted, and neglected to consider the benefit of hashing out the project’s finer points with its developer when casting their ballots, said the lone Community Board 2 member who supported the scheme at the May 9 full-board meeting.

“I wanted to hopefully have an opportunity to negotiate,” said Clinton Hiller Lenny Singletary, the panel’s second vice chairman. “When you say ‘no,’ you remove all opportunity to negotiate.”

Thirty-two board members, however, overwhelmed Singletary’s solo vote of support with their “nay” votes on the upzoning request for 80 Flatbush — a five-building complex with residential, educational, cultural, and commercial spaces that builder Alloy Development wants to erect on a patch of land bounded by Flatbush and Third avenues and State and Schermerhorn streets. Two board members recused themselves from voting, and five abstained.

The project includes the construction of 38- and 74-story towers that would be triple the size of what regulations currently allow on the land, leading many locals and pols to blast it as simply too massive for its location, and requiring its developer to push it through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process before breaking ground.

And Singletary’s fellow board members’ purely advisory vote against 80 Flatbush, which followed a unanimous “nay” vote by the panel’s Land Use Committee, completely ignored the scheme’s public benefits — including a newly built 350-seat elementary school, a separate facility for high-schoolers studying inside the currently beleaguered Khalil Gibran International Academy building on Schermerhorn Street, 200 below-market-rate apartments, and the local jobs the complex will generate, he said.

“It’s an opportunity to bring jobs to Brooklyn and provide the school with other resources,” said Singletary, who moderated the first ulurp-mandated public hearing on 80 Flatbush in March. “If it was solely about a development with no other components, it would have been easy to say, ‘this is too massive.’ ”

If the city ultimately denies the upzoning, Alloy bigwigs intend to axe the so-called affordable housing and both schools, and instead work within current zoning laws to build one 400-foot high-rise containing market-rate units, according to a rep.

And Singletary said the board could have at least rejected the current 80 Flatbush proposal with some recommended moderations — like it did with a similar rezoning request leaders of a Fort Greene church recently proposed in order to erect their own planned tower — which might lead to a compromise between developers and community that still results in some public good.

“I know many of my colleagues from the board kind of take an all or nothing approach. But maybe there’s a way to have a conversation, and get some concessions,” he said.

The beep, who last month hosted his own hearing on 80 Flatbush, is expected to give his opinion on the project in the coming weeks, and the rezoning application now moves on to the City Planning Commission, then Council, before it finally lands on the desk of Mayor DeBlasio, who will ultimately decide its fate.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 5:44 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Frank from Furter says:
So why didn't he propose modifications? The vote was over 30 to 1. Where are the jobs from Pacific green? Why is there no school there? Much better location for a school than Flatbush off third ave...
May 10, 2018, 3:05 pm
Dan from Brooklyn Heights says:
NYMBYs can sometimes function as speed bumps to slow exploitation.
May 11, 2018, 11:12 am
Pedro from Boerum Hill says:
Julianne Cuba shows her true colors here.

The CB2 votes OVERWHELMINGLY against this project 32-1 and she decides to interview and run an article based on an interview with the 1 person who said yes?

Julianne maybe you'd like to run a piece on one of the 3% of scientists who still dispute climate change?

The truth is that this historic vote by the CB2 - which is NOT an anti-development board - is part of a wider opposition to this type of spot upzoning.

ALL of the elected officials who have made statements have come out against this development. JoAnne Simon, Velmanette Montgomery, Walter Mosley, Tish James - ALL have said they want a real discussion about what goes on that corner, and are not anti-development. Combine that with the CB2 vote and you can get a real sense of where the greater Brooklyn community stands.
May 11, 2018, 12:13 pm
Jolene from Prospect Heights says:
Singletary gave Alloy almost unlimited time at the CB2 land use hearing in March. Both Alloy partners presented their power point, the DOE's partner got to ramble and project consultants got to talk. Singletary started the hearing half an hour late, took five minutes instructing people to be brief, gave Alloy & Friends upwards of an hour. 500 had shown up. 200 were locked out. Those who wanted to speak were overwhelmingly against Alloy and had two minutes each. A few did get two minutes but because Singletary had let Alloy go long, he cut most people to one minute, about enough time to give name, rank and serial number. He didn't allow late comers who managed to get in to sign up to speak. Now we understand his handling of the hearing wasn't from incompetence but from his advocacy for the developer. Maybe he can get a job with Alloy. He could certainly use this promotional Brooklyn Paper story as a credit on his job application.
May 12, 2018, 5:45 am
Follow the money from wherever REBNY invades says:
Singletary is the embodiment of a conflict of interest...He was the DIrector (& still on the Board) of the Bed-Stuy Restoration Corp-ground zero for gentrification and displacement :

“We as a people need to understand what’s really going on. It’s not gentrification; it is ethnic cleansing,” said Iman Essiet, 27, of Bed-Stuy. “It is genocide and that’s what we need to charge the United States with, because will give us a paradigm shift in understanding what’s really happening to us.”

This man's real estate development affiliations should eliminate him/recuse him from any voice in ongoing projects in which his biases preclude objective evaluation.
May 12, 2018, 10:10 am
Sakia from Bed Stuy says:
Restoration Plaza is a source of pride to African Americans. Are African Americans ethnically cleansing themselves with this center of black commerce and culture?
May 12, 2018, 11:20 am

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