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Broadway Triangle Postponed, Opponents Edgy

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After a request for a recess from Speaker Christine Quinn, the City Council will not vote on the Broadway Triangle rezoning plan this week as expected, making a vote likely to occur just before the city’s land use process expires on December 9.

“Speaker Quinn has not taken a position yet,” said Maria Alvarado, a spokesperson for Speaker Quinn. “It’s not uncommon for a hearing to be recessed for land use items. There hasn’t been a vote that has been canceled.”

Alvarado did not elaborate beyond that as to why the hearing was recessed.

Nearly 40 North Brooklyn activists trekked to City Hall December 2, hoping for a decisive vote or at least a hearing, but were told that the hearing had been recessed until December 3.

“This is wrong,” said Rob Solano, Executive Director for Churches United for Fair Housing.

Solano speculated that the hearing was being postponed so that Broadway Triangle supporters could round up more positive votes in light of several wavering council members. Land Use Acquisitions and Dispositions Subcommittee Chair Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) remains undecided, as does Council member Sara Gonzales (D-Red Hook) and Council Member Al Vann (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant), who has publicly expressed reservations over future rezoning actions near the Broadway Triangle site.

“I believe he is still formulating his position,” said Mandela Jones, a staff member for Al Vann.

On November 19, during a Land Use Subcomittee hearing, Council members debated the merits of the Department of Housing and Preservation Development’s (HPD) plan to rezone 31 acres in South Williamsburg for residential use.

Scores of supporters and opponents to the plan submitted their arguments into the Council record during the November hearing. A core group of opponents, members of the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition (BTCC), vowed to continue appearing at City Hall to pressure elected officials to oppose the rezoning plan, no matter how many times it gets postponed.

“We are hoping this is an opportunity to put pressure on City Hall that this is not for our community,” said Council member Diana Reyna, who strongly opposes the plan, this week. “The day you don’t come is the day you regret and there’s a vote.”

When cast, the vote is expected to be the culmination of nearly four years of planning and lobbying efforts among political and housing leaders in North Brooklyn who have tried to develop residential housing on a large city-owned plot contained within Broadway, Flushing and Union avenues.

However, the Council must pass or make modifications to the rezoning plan before December 9, when the Uniform Land Use Review Process for the proposal officially expires. If there are significant modifications, HPD can resubmit its proposal to the Council after that period.

Brooklyn Corporation A attorney Marty Needelman, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the BTCC against HPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is operating on a parallel calendar. He is expecting to file an amended complaint to his lawsuit and motion for a preliminary injunction on the week of December 14 in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“If we get a stay, that’s a good indication of the merits of the case,” said Needelman.

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