PPEN and the Prospects Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association (PLGNA) presented their plan for a neighborhood study at PLGNA’s fall general meeting on Monday, November 2, 2015. The plan was generally well received but the presentation elicited comments and questions, indicating a need for further clarification that we aim to provide below.
PPEN has been working with PLGNA on the development of the study for the past year, with almost weekly meetings of its steering committee and invited advisors and participants. In response to recent development projects like 626 Flatbush Avenue tower and heated discussions in Community Board 9 about whether or not to support a call for the Department of City Planning to develop a zoning proposal, two community groups have undertaken their own studies. There are two ways that our study differs from these other studies: it is not a zoning study and it analyzes the entire area that the Department of City Planning has been asked to rezone. Thus, our study will complement rather than duplicate the studies being undertaken by other community groups.
The purpose of the PLGNA/PPEN study is to collect information in order to obtain an accurate, fine-grained understanding of the characteristics of our neighborhood through the collection of both public-access information and interviews with community members. Furthermore, the study will look at the effects of rezoning on displacement and gentrification in other neighborhoods to assess the probable impact upon our own. This type of study has never been done before and has the potential to be applied throughout the city.
We have sought funding from diverse sources, including elected officials, who have the ability to fund projects in their districts they feel are valuable. Limited funding was made available. At no time did elected officials attempt to influence the nature of the study; neither will they have any say in the preparation of the final report. The amount of funding by our elected officials is a matter of public record. We anticipate that about a third of our funding will come from competitive, private and non-governmental grants.
We look forward to working with the entire community to collect and compile data that can help protect those most vulnerable to the forces of gentrification in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and South Crown Heights while preserving these neighborhoods’ economically and racially diverse character and improving the quality of life for all of their residents.