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CB9 to Vote on Controversial Franklin Ave Towers, As 56K Sign Petition Against Development

The development is currently in the lengthy land use review process and needs final approval from the mayor
A rendering of the proposed towers.

The controversial development of two 35-story, 400 foot towers proposed for Franklin Ave will be voted on by Community Board 9 on Wednesday night.

The vote comes days after an almost four hour hearing on the development, where almost all speakers spoke against the development saying it would hurt the community and botanic gardens, and would not provide true affordable housing.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden President Adrian Benepe presented a petition against the development to the community board, which has been signed by 56,000 community members.

"Unfortunately, the developers have continued to pit affordable housing aims and union jobs against preservation of one of the city's most cherished and historic collections of plants, a local college, a children's playground, and other public spaces," Benepe said.

"We urge the Community Board and local elected officials who stand in the path of approval of the rezoning proposal to reject this ploy and protect the community and neighborhood."

He added that Brooklyn Botanic Garden stood with "tens of thousands of community residents and the many elected officials and City Planning Commission members" who have publicly opposed the project "because of the existential damage that it will do to the Garden and surrounding neighborhood."

The buildings, he said, would block hours of sunlight each day to BBG's conservatories, greenhouses and nurseries, where plants for the entire Garden are propagated; and would destroy many plants that the garden has carefully cultivated for decades, including rare cacti, endangered orchids, and hundreds-year-old bonsais, threatening the entirety of its collection.

In February, the City Planning Commission (CPC) voted to certify the rezoning application for the controversial proposed development Crown Heights, officially beginning the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

The application is now being reviewed for approval by the community board, and it will then go to Borough President Eric Adams and the City Council. If it were to reach the end of the review process, Mayor Bill De Blasio, who came out in opposition of the proposal in December, would have veto power.

The proposal from Manhattan developer Ian Bruce Eichner of Continuum Company calls for the construction of two 35-story residential towers rising above 400 feet. Continuum argues that the towers would bring much needed middle class housing to Crown Heights. The towers call for the construction of 1,578 apartments, 474 of which would be below-market rate due to city regulations. An additional 315 units are being classified as "middle-income housing."

The plan also calls for commercial space and a daycare center. Despite these assertions from the developer, critics have contested that even the affordable units will still be out of reach financially for many area residents.

The board will vote on the proposal at its monthly meeting on June 23, which is open to the public, and pass its recommendation to the borough president.

The borough president's office will hold its public ULURP hearing on this issue on Tuesday, June 29 at 5:00pm. Individuals may participate on WebEx or in person at Borough Hall.