Protect Prospect Park East
Dear elected official, We urgently need your help to protect an endangered species - a historic, affordable neighborhood in Brooklyn bordering Prospect Park. To do that we seek your support for a limited temporary moratorium on out of context building near the park in order to give the community time to rezone. At the same time, please ask the Department of City Planning to prioritize the rezoning of Community Board 9, especially areas immediately threatened by irresponsible and irreversible development. As we speak a 23 story mostly luxury tower is about to be constructed at 626 Flatbush Avenue, in the midst of two historic districts and affordable pre war apartment buildings. It will loom over Prospect Park, violating Olmsted and Vaux's vision of the park as a rural retreat for the common man, free from the sights and sounds of urban life. It threatens the low rise character of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood, and will cause secondary displacement in the numerous surrounding apartment buildings because the target rents for the market rate apartments are 30-50% higher than existing market rates, in spite of $76 million in state and federal financing. The height of this building is directly correlated with its luxury character; developer Hudson companies has refused to consider a community friendly nine story alternative because they believe they will receive premium rents for high floor apartments with park views. There is still time to positively alter 626 Flatbush Avenue and other potential development sites near Prospect Park East. But we need emergency measures to prevent developers from acquiring property and laying foundations in anticipation of our long awaited rezoning. Prospect Lefferts Gardens has a long history of both historic preservation and progressive activism on housing, from participating in the 1960's lawsuits against redlining, fighting to expand the 421-a exclusion zone to Flatbush and Ocean Avenues in 2008, to our fight for environmental justice today (PPEN v Hudson, still pending). Please stand with us as we seek to protect this legacy for our youth. As you can see from the history of our fight for contextual zoning, without your urgent help we will lose our struggle against irresponsible development. When a 23 story tower rises, opposed by all facets of the community, it becomes a permanent and visible reminder for miles around of official neglect and insensitivity.