The Park Slope Civic Council Trustees approved a resolution at its March 6th board meeting in favor of sending a letter to Council Member Laurie Cumbo opposing the rezoning of 12 lots on the eastern perimeter of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Her district includes Crown Heights, where this rezoning would occur. If approved by the City Council, the rezoning would permit Cornell Realty to construct buildings as much as 230 feet in height that would cast major shadows on the botanic gardens’ greenhouses and forever destroy its visual integrity.
The rezoning is being pushed by the Department of City Planning (DCP) since it would be built under the Mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program and include 20%-25% affordable units within the towers. While an admirable goal, this is not the right location for buildings of this scale. In particular, it would reverse the protections put in place in 1991 by DCP that imposed height limits to prevent just the type of buildings it is now seeking to permit.
Park Slope residents who care about the future integrity of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden are urged to email Council Member Cumbo no later than April 23rd to oppose the rezoning and to sign an online petition. When the rezoning comes before the City Council, other Council Members typically defer to the wishes of the local council member on land use matters, so Cumbo’s vote will be the most crucial.