Broadway Triangle Opponents Vow to Fight 'Discriminatory' Development Plan

By Meredith Hoffman | January 11, 2012 10:05pm 

CITY HALL — Opponents of an allegedly discriminatory affordable housing project on the Williamsburg-Bedford-Stuyvesant border rallied Wednesday on the steps of City Hall demanding the city draft a new housing plan.

The city's planned development of the 21-block area, called Broadway Triangle, was halted last week by a judge on the grounds it favored the Hasidic Jewish population over blacks and others needing apartments.

If the city appeals the decision, the community group Broadway Triangle Community Coalition, which has fought the development for years, will not back down.

"This is a time to stand up for peace and for justice," said Luis Garden Acosta, director of the non-profit advocacy group El Puente, at the rally.

City Councilwoman Diana Reyna and 50th District Leader Lincoln Restler also said the project excludes many members of the community.

"The plan that the city devised is segregated and fails to meet what we all so desperately need, which is affordable housing," Restler said.

The developers, United Jewish Organizations and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, plan to build low-rise buildings to accommodate Hasidic Jewish families who do not take elevators on the Sabbath.

In addition, the population would represent the demographic of the Williamsburg Community Board 1, rather than including the demographics of Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to the court filing. Only 3 percent of the residents would be African American, a demographer noted in the filing.

But Brooklyn Councilman Steven Levin argued that the plan was not discriminatory, and would provide essential housing to people in his district. He said he believed the city would win the case.

Meanwhile, NYC Law Department attorney Gabriel Taussig called the claims of discrimination "outlandish."

"The proposed plans for the development help to meet the affordable housing needs of the community while preserving the overall physical scale of the neighborhood," he said.

"We look forward to bringing new affordable housing opportunities to this neighborhood and to hardworking New Yorkers throughout the City."