New towers threaten sunlight to the Garden's Greenhouses
Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s plant collections are under serious threat from a proposed massive building complex including two 39-story towers at 960 Franklin Avenue (the spice factory site) just 150 feet from the Garden.
Towers of this size would block hours of sunlight to the Garden’s 21 conservatories, greenhouses, and nurseries where plants are grown for the entire 52-acre site.
Current zoning laws protect the Garden’s access to sunlight by capping building height at this location at 75 feet (approximately seven stories). The developers are seeking to rezone multiple lots at the site to build towers over six times this limit.
The current zoning must remain in place to protect the Garden. Join us in signing a petition to city officials to oppose this rezoning and protect the integrity and the beauty of the Garden!
3 Ways to Take Action!
Help us spread the word by encouraging others to sign the petition and sharing your support on social media, using the hashtags #ResistRezoning and #FightForSunlight to tag your photos taken at the Garden.
Contact the chairs of the City Council's Committee on Land Use and the Council's Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, the District 35 Council Member (the proposed project is in Council District 35), your own City Council Member, the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Mayor.
Updates: As of June 2019, the rezoning petition for 960 Franklin Avenue has not yet been certified to begin the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the process the developers must follow to seek zoning changes with city officials. When the project does enter ULURP—a multiple-month process—we will update our supporters on actionable ways to amplify the Garden’s opposition to rezoning.
What is the proposed project?
Two real estate developers, Continuum Company and Lincoln Equities, have filed plans to build a complex of two 39-story towers of over 420 feet each plus 40-foot bulkheads on the three-acre spice factory site at 960 Franklin Avenue, between Montgomery Street and Sullivan Place and very close to Brooklyn Botanic Garden. For context, the proposed towers would be over 100 feet taller than the existing Tivoli Towers on Crown Street.
How would shade from this project affect BBG’s plant collections?
Buildings of this size would have a lasting negative impact on BBG’s conservatories, greenhouses, and nurseries by causing the loss of as much as three hours of sunlight daily in spring, summer, and fall. These greenhouses and nurseries are where plants for the entire Garden are propagated and grown. The development site is less than 300 feet from these structures and just 150 feet from the Garden.
Isn’t this area zoned for low-rise buildings?
Yes, zoning in the area where this project is proposed, bordering BBG near Washington Avenue, is now capped at 75 ft (approximately seven stories). This zoning was specifically established in 1991 to prevent shadows on BBG’s conservatories and greenhouses to protect its access to sunlight.
What is the Garden’s position on the project and rezoning?
The current zoning must remain unchanged.
If you have further questions on how to help or wish to be added to our email list, please contact [email protected].
Reader Comments: When It’s Green Space vs. Living Space (PDF) ›
The New York Times, March 24, 2019
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Resists Buildings That Would Cast Shade ›
The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2019
Nearby Rezoning Proposal Casts Shadow on Brooklyn Botanic Garden ›
NY1, March 13, 2019
Crown Heights Spice Factory Development Pits Labor vs. Locals ›
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 13, 2019