CROWN HEIGHTS — The fight continues over rezoning in southern Crown Heights.
The group Movement to Protect the People held a protest and rally outside Community Board 9's Nostrand Avenue office on Wednesday, weeks after sparring with the board over its earlier recommendation to the city to move forward with a rezoning study for the area.
Dozens of MTOPP members had successfully demanded at CB9's September 23 meeting that the board take a vote to rescind its original resolution to the Department of City Planning. But when the board announced its results, MTOPP mistakenly believed they had been victorious — only to discover the next day that due to vote count confusion, they'd lost.
On Wednesday, MTOPP leader Alicia Boyd said the group's not giving up the fight — saying they'll keep up the pressure on CB9 to redraft their earlier resolution.
“The goal is to redraft,” Boyd said outside the CB9 office Wednesday, adding that the group will go to court if their demands aren't met. “If they try — if they even try — to push that [the resolution] on to city planning, we will have an Article 78, just like that, to stop it.”
Boyd said her group is not anti-development, but pro-”preservation,” and added that their goal is to rescind CB9's resolution to give those in the neighborhood a chance to sound off on how the area may be rezoned.
Local district leader Geoffrey Davis, who supports MTOPP and attended Wednesday’s protest, said he believes that because of the group’s actions in September, they have a chance to add their opinions on rezoning to the resolution.
“The wheel that squeaks the loudest, gets the oil. We squeaked at the Community Board 9 meeting and because of that squeaking, we’ve got an opportunity for it to be rescinded,” he said.
But CB9’s executive board doesn’t see it the same way. After the protest, CB9 Chairman Dwayne Nicholson took issue with MTOPP’s claim that “their voices aren’t being heard.”
“The problem is, they’re the only voice being heard,” he said of the organization, which he later described as a “fringe group.”
“We’re trying to do a study. Nothing is etched in stone,” he said of the rezoning effort, but added that he hopes the community moves forward on the issue, especially in light of the city’s prioritization of building affordable housing and acute interest in the area from developers.
“Every day’s delay is another day that a developer can come in, find some property and build a tower, which pretty much everyone says they don’t want to see,” he said.
Still, Nicholson said he took no issue with the group’s right to protest. CB9’s district manager, Pearl Miles, had a similar opinion.
“They’re expressing their constitutional right to free speech,” Miles said inside the board office Wednesday as MTOPP members chanted outside: “Pearl’s got to go!”
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story misstated the vote count.