The suit challenges the current plan for the Crown Heights development as well as the city’s land use decisions, arguing that the city’s impact studies don’t take tenant displacement into account

Photo credit: Legal Aid Society

Just a week after the New York City Council Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions voted on a significantly modified revision of the Bedford-Union Armory Development plan, the contested project is now facing a lawsuit. Joined by Crown Heights residents and housing activists, the Legal Aid Society announced today its litigation plans to block the Bedford-Union Armory redevelopment plan.

“The city’s plan for the Bedford-Union Armory is flawed and it will only exacerbate skyrocketing rents and displacement,” stated the organization during a rally at City Hall.

The suit challenges the current plan for the Crown Heights development as well as the city’s method of evaluating tenant displacement in land use decisions, arguing that the city’s impact studies don’t take tenant displacement into account.

photo credit: BFC Partners

For more than a year, the Bedford-Union Armory project has received strong opposition from activists, the community and elected officials, criticizing the initial proposal which prioritized luxury condominiums over low-income housing.

The newly amended plan, which was just announced last week, scraped all luxury condo units. The more than 400 homes in the development will now be rental units and remain entirely in public ownership. The project, spearheaded by developer BFC Partners, will include 250 affordable apartments with rents between $521 and $1,166. Additionally, 10% of the affordable housing will now be set aside for formerly homeless individuals and families.

Yet, activists continued to maintain that the plan was still not good enough; they argued that rents remained too high for many locals and that all housing on city-owned land should be affordable. Judith Goldiner, attorney-in-charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at the Legal Aid Society, called the project “flawed” and warned that the project will set a “dangerous land use precedent.”

The full City Council is expected to vote on and approve the plan on Thursday, November 30.

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