September 15th, 2014
Empire Boulevard is mile-long commercial stretch in Prospect-Lefferts Garden that is filled with commercial warehouses, auto shops, and fast food joints. In the neighborhood located just east of Prospect Park, 10 new residential towers are going up in the nearby residential section the neighborhood. The city and community are now mulling the option of rezoning Empire Boulevard to attract more developers to the neighborhood.
Not everyone agrees on the future plans for the neighborhood. According to Crain's New York, the local community board asked the City Planning Department for a zoning study of the neighborhood They want a particular focus on Empire Boulevard. Since April there have been ongoing debates at the local community board meetings.
"Empire needs to be developed; there's no doubt about that," said F. Richard Hurley, a local lawyer and president of the Crown Heights Community Council. "I don't think it would hurt," said Carlos Rivera, who manages Advantage Wholesale Supply. "Not at all."
There is also opposition against plans to add more housing to the already densely populated area of nearly 60,000 residents. One group, calling itself the Movement to Protect the People, claims that Mr. Adams and his supporters want to rezone Empire Boulevard to turn it "into a tourist attraction and make tons of money off the community."
Some residents are ok with the idea of rezoning but want to make sure the housing matches the existing architecture. "Nobody wants buildings out of context with the neighborhood," said Leah Margulies, who as a member of the group Prospect Park East Network has tried to block the 23-story tower at 626 Flatbush Ave. "But I don't personally have a problem with greater density."