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Fort Greene community board rejects church-to-affordable housing conversion

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The board favors a spot rezoning to allow for the redevelopment instead of the proposed upzoning for the area

Hanson Place Seventh-day Adventist Church at 142-150 S. Portland Avenue.
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Plans to rezone a parcel of Fort Greene land, where the Hanson Place Seventh-day Adventist Church currently resides, into a 138-foot residential building were rejected at a recent Community Board 2 meeting, reports the Brooklyn Paper.

Church officials want to raze the three-story building, located at 142-150 S. Portland Avenue, and replace it with a 13-story tower that would consists of 100 affordable apartments. Households earning 60 percent, 100 percent, and 130 percent of the area median income would be able to try their luck at obtaining one of the building’s 19 studios, 42 one-bedrooms, 24 two-bedrooms, and 14 three-bedrooms, if the project happens. The building would also welcome a medical facility and a multi-purpose space. But before the proposal can move forward, the city would need to upzone the area to allow for taller towers; it currently allows for buildings up to nine-feet high.

Per Brooklyn Paper, the upzoning application also proposes granting developers the ability to build storefronts on the ground floor of new buildings in the rezoned area on Hanson Street in what they call a “commercial overlay.”

However, the full board rejected the proposal and opted to vote on a spot rezoning that would allow for the redevelopment of the church, citing fears that other developers would start acquiring low-rise properties and replacing them with tall towers.

“We opted to vote on a spot rezoning because we felt that the church’s program and benefits to the community were worth some special consideration,” said Irene Janner in a statement. “But we did not want to extend that large-scale zoning to the other lots where we don’t know what people would choose to do or build.”

The proposal is now in the hands of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who will issue his own recommendations to the City Planning Commission and get the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure process under way.