The Brooklyn Botanic Garden opened on Tuesday a new exhibit to protest against a developer’s plan to build two 39-story residential towers that garden officials say will cast damaging shadows on its grounds, reports Gothamist.
Titled “Fight for Sunlight,” the exhibit showcases a collection of plant species, ranging from bonsai trees to endangered orchids and cacti, grown in BBG’s greenhouses, conservatories and nurseries.
Exhibited signage, renderings and a shadow analysis video aim to educate visitors about the threat the proposed development poses to the garden’s plant collections and to rally public support to protect them.
“Decades ago, Crown Heights’ zoning was carefully crafted to protect Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s access to sunlight and to allow our many collections of diverse, rare and horticulturally significant plants to grow and thrive,” said BBG President Scot Medbury. “Now all of that is under threat.”
Developers Continuum Company and Lincoln Equities are proposing a rezoning plan to build a 1.4 million-square-foot development at 960 Franklin Avenue. The two towers are expected to rise to roughly 420 feet — or 39 stories — and would yield 1,578 units of housing, half of which would be affordable. Under current neighborhood zoning laws, nearby building heights are capped at approximately seven stories.
The approval of the rezoning would have catastrophic effects, Medbury warned. The shadows cast by the proposed towers would block sunlight on the garden’s eastern sections for up to four-and-a-half hours a day, according to BBG’s own analysis. It would disrupt the operations of 23 greenhouses, nurseries and other growing spaces by reducing light exposure, increase the likelihood of fungal diseases spreading and prevent certain plants from flowering.
“New shadows caused by these proposed towers could eradicate many of the rare and endangered plants in our collection,” Medbury said. “We urge the public to learn more in this new exhibit and take action against the proposed towers.”
The exhibit “Fight for Sunlight” is open during regular BBG operating hours and included in the garden admission.