Crown Heights: Two More Developments Bite the Dust

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Chants of “This is what democracy looks like,” could be heard from activists this afternoon in front of a large lot on the block of Crown Street and Franklin Avenue. 

Michael Hollingsworth, who’s running for the 35th City Council seat, along with Alicia Boyd and members of the Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP) gathered to celebrate Judge Reginal Boddie’s decision to annul the city council’s decision to allow developers to rezone and build developments at 40 Crown Street. 

“They never asked us what we wanted in our neighborhoods, it was just, this is what we want for your neighborhood.” said Hollingsworth, who commented that this decision was “historic” for communities of color.

The annulment came on the heels of a temporary restraining order that restricted work at rezoned Crown Heights sites. Mayor Bill de Blasio originally gave his approval for the developers to move on with the project at 960 Franklin Ave and plans for the City Planning Commission to certify the application was scheduled for Nov. 16, 2020. 

Boyd and co. filed a lawsuit against the Franklin rezoning, saying that the Department of City Planning (DCP) failed to report a detailed summary of the rezoning, which put on hold certifications for rezonings across Crown Heights. 

Alicia Boyd lauds the court ruling. Photo by Chaya Gurkov.

De Blasio has since retracted his support of the Franklin rezoning. 

In April 2019, Boyd along with Hollingsworth and LaShaun Ellis filed another lawsuit with the proposed 40 Crown Street as its target, with the complaint that the applicant in the Franklin Avenue Rezoning Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) should have conducted an in-depth assessment called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

On December 8, Judge Boddie determined that DCP failed to properly assess the environmental consequences in violation of the city and state’s environmental review process.  

“The wheels of justice have turned in our favor and that lawsuit is null and void,” said Byod. 

According to Boyd, the developers downplayed the amount of residential units underneath the 400 threshold that would require them to conduct an EIS. Hollingsworth added that rezonings such as these displace people in a community that does not have the infrastructure to bring in thousands of new residents. 

The developers Cornell Realty, CP VI, and Carmel Partners recently requested for an appeal. 

“It’s a lot easier to appeal a case that you won,” Boyd commented, indicating that she will continue the fight. 

Cornell Realty declined to comment.