Community will get day in court v. city
Jun 01, 2010 | 7607 views | 0 0 comments | 233 233 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Most development projects in New York City that require public review usually follow a similar arc. The city makes their proposal, usually much larger than it actually wants, the community complains, the city scales it back a little bit, and the area politicians get to announce a win-win.

But in Brooklyn, something much different is happening. The a coalition of community groups surrounding the Broadway Triangle, a gritty patch of land on the border between Williamsburg and Bed-Stuy, is actually suing the city to force them to make a redevelopment project there bigger - much bigger.

The Bloomberg administration has proposed building 1,800 units of housing on the Triangle property, about half of them affordable. However, the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition (BTCC) wants the city to build 5,000 units of housing there, saying that the site can handle more density and that the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods need more affordable housing.

It's not the usual way that major developments progress in New York City.

And now you can score another unusual victory for the BTCC. Last week, a judge announced that a lawsuit filed against the city by BTCC can proceed. That in and of itself is rare indeed, hardly ever to lawsuits against city development projects actually get their day in court – if the city is concerned that a lawsuit could be filed in the future, it is usually careful enough to make sure it has all of it “i's” dotted and “t's” crossed to avoid actually having to appear in court.

We're not going to go into the merits of the development project, but in a nutshell the lawsuit claims the city violated the Fair Housing Act by excluding the members of the BTCC from the planning stages, instead tailoring the development to meet the needs of the local Hasidic Jewish community in the neighborhood. We can't say if the city did or not, that will now be for a court to decide.

But we do hope that the case of the Broadway Triangle signals a greater emphasis on community inclusion as the city continues to develop across the five boroughs, and that it doesn't take a lawsuit to require it.

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