Billyburgâ€™s â€˜Broadway Triangleâ€™ Hearings Begin Tomorrow
WILLIAMSBURG â€” An expected week-long evidentiary hearing is scheduled to begin in Manhattan Supreme Court tomorrow regarding a lawsuit over the halted Broadway Triangle rezoning in Williamsburg.
The hearing will take place before Justice Emily Jane Goodman, who ordered a stay on cityâ€™s rezoning after it was approved by the City Council in December 2009.
The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition sued the city to stop the rezoning of the 30-acre, 21-block parcel of land. Roughly defined by the triangular borders of Flushing Avenue, Union Avenue and Broadway, the blighted land, which includes the former site of Pfizerâ€™s first pharmaceutical plant, is slated for development for housing.
However, petitioners claim that insufficient community input was obtained for the project. They claim Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kings County Democratic leader Vito Lopez brokered a secretive agreement with the United Jewish Organizations (UJO) of Williamsburg for developing the land, to the exclusion of black, Latino and other Jewish community groups in the area.
Petitioners claim the proposed rezoning, which transfers city-owned sites to the UJO and the Bushwick Ridgewood Senior Citizen Council, is discriminatory and in violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal and state civil rights law. The Bushwick Ridgewood Senior Citizens Council is a nonprofit closely connected to Lopez.
The current plan for the Broadway Triangle is reported to include 1,800 units of housing, 800 of which would be affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families.
But petitioners say that no more than 150 units of affordable housing are guaranteed.
They also claim the plan would hurt local businesses, fails to add open space or new community facilities, and provides a preference to affordable-housing applicants from Williamsburg and Greenpoint, but not from Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A is filing the lawsuit against the city, along with Weil & Gotschal; Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady; and the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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