Monday, December 04, 2017
City to build 375 affordable apartments at Brooklyn’s Broadway Triangle after settling discrimination case
A years-long battle over charges of racial discrimination at Brooklyn’s Broadway Triangle was settled Monday, after the city agreed to overhaul its plan to develop the area.
A lawsuit by community groups had halted development on the stretch of land on the border of Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant, which the city voted to rezone in 2009.
The groups charged housing slated to be built there would favor Hasidic Jewish families over blacks and Latinos looking for apartments in the area.
Under the settlement filed Monday, a new plan will provide for 375 affordable apartments on city-owned land, more than double the original plan.
The city will redo the bidding process for the project — nixing awards to the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg.
“This is a major victory for racial justice,” said Shekar Krishnan, attorney at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A. “The neighborhoods of Bed-Stuy and Williamsburg have suffered for far too long from decades of segregation.”
Under the deal, half the apartments will have a preference for people from both Williamsburg, where the site is located, and Bed-Stuy, which it borders. The original plan favored only Williamsburg, which is mostly white.
Two-thirds of the apartments will be one and two bedrooms. Opponents had objected that the prevalence of larger apartments in the original plan would favor Hasidic families, which tend to have many children.
The city has agreed to bar any developer found to have engaged in housing discrimination from bidding for the project.
The city is also kicking in $2.4 million over three years to Brooklyn Legal Services to represent tenants facing housing discrimination.
“The City's priority has been to get the most affordable housing possible in this neighborhood, and to put this longstanding litigation behind us so this community can focus on the future,” said Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci. “We’re very pleased with the outcome, and we look forward to working with our community partners to keep this part of Brooklyn affordable.”
Rabbi David Niederman, the president of UJO, slammed the deal in a statement Monday evening.
"The proposed deal is not a settlement. It is a sell-out to politically-connected biased groups with a history of using lawsuits to further its anti-Semitic goal of preventing Jewish families in Williamsburg from finding housing," he said. "We are shocked and disappointed that New York City agreed to this backroom deal."
Niederman said the "profoundly disturbing" changes to the apartment sizes and community preferences would make it harder for Jewish families to find apartments.
"This is a travesty of justice," he said. "This suit alleged discrimination where there was none, and now will result in discrimination against the Jewish community."
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