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Boerum Hill residents sue to stop rise of 800-foot Flatbush Avenue tower

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The plaintiffs challenge that the upzoning for 80 Flatbush is “unlawful”

Alloy Development

Nearly a year after the City Council voted to approve 80 Flatbush, the dual-building development set to rise in Downtown Brooklyn, a group of neighborhood homeowners still seeks to stop the project from moving forward.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that five residents of State Street, who’ve banded together as the 400 & 500 State Street Block Association, have filed a petition in New York state Supreme Court to annul the upzoning, calling it “unlawful and constitutionally impermissible” in the petition.

“State [Street] will be turned into a back alley and an after though[t] - the backend of a development so big, it belongs in downtown Manhattan, not a residential neighborhood,” the website for the plaintiffs reads.

The project, which is being spearheaded by Alloy Development, is set to rise on a lot at the crux of Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill, bordered by Flatbush and Third avenues, and State and Schermerhorn streets. The plaintiffs call this a “single family home, low-density area,” though the Atlantic Center mall, the Barclays Center, dozens of apartment buildings, and the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center transit hub are all within a stone’s throw of the site.

Alloy’s original proposal called for building two new towers—one a bona fide supertall at 986 feet, the other a comparatively modest 560 feet—that would house 900 apartments, 200 of which would be permanently affordable, along with Class-A office space. But after much back-and-forth (and fierce opposition from some community members), the City Council approved a plan that kept much of the buildings’ density (as well as those 200 affordable units) while reducing their heights to 840 and 510 feet, respectively.

But members of the State Street block association say that the very nature of some of the project’s amenities—including two schools and affordable apartments through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program—is unconstitutional. “Indeed, what occurred here was not zoning, it was legislative action, bought and sold,” the petition reads. The City Planning Commission (which also approved the upzoning), City Council, NYC Educational Construction Fund, Alloy, and the city itself are named as defendants in the petition.

A spokesperson for Alloy told Curbed, “It’s a shame that a small handful of wealthy homeowners are making a last-ditch effort to derail a project that will deliver so many public benefits. We believe the record will show that the process was lawfully observed and that the decisions reached were well-grounded in the law.” The spokesperson also noted the “broad support” the project received as it went through the city’s lengthy land-use review process, including votes of confidence from organizations as diverse as Transportation Alternatives, the Arab American Family Support Center, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and BRIC.

The case will go to the Manhattan Supreme Court on July 19.