CROWN HEIGHTS — A controversial document on local rezoning has once again been pushed back to committee at Crown Heights’ Community Board 9 following months of protests and back-and-forth due to an invalid vote, board leaders said.
At a full CB9 meeting Tuesday night, where members were set to accept or reject a letter to the Department of City Planning that would begin a study of rezoning in the neighborhood, CB9’s chair announced the document would go back to the board’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) committee after it became clear the committee’s vote last week on the letter was taken after the meeting had officially ended.
“It was brought to our attention … that actually, the vote was taken after the meeting was adjourned,” said interim chair Laura Imperiale, who took over the top spot at CB9 after its previous chair, Dwayne Nicholson, abruptly resigned earlier this month. “We decided that, as unpopular as this might be, it needs to go back to the ULURP committee. There was some confusion over the votes.”
The committee voted quickly on the issue and without announcing the vote tally amid the chaotic conclusion of its three-hour meeting last week, marked by continuous interruptions and shouting from attendees and board members alike.
The gathering began with police removing a protester, Alicia Boyd, leader of the activist group Movement to Protect the People.
After the meeting, MTOPP distributed literature, emails and video documentation condemning the committee's vote, bringing up their concerns with Imperiale and the executive board at a meeting Monday night.
MTOPP has claimed repeatedly for months that CB9 is acting unlawfully in dealing with the rezoning issue, including when the group played a role in proving CB9’s district manager had changed the outcome of a key vote on the issue this fall by incorrectly tallying the votes.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Boyd demanded, among other things, that the board be dismantled.
“This is your community board and if you feel they’re not representing you, then you need to demand that they be shut down,” she said before her mic was cut at the end of her allotted two-minute public comment period.
The debate surrounding revisions to the rezoning document — which would mark the beginning of a study of changing land use rules in southern Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens — has been delayed for months amid protests from MTOPP and the community, rescheduled or sent back to committee at least three times.
CB9 first sent a letter to City Planning requesting they study land use changes in the area a year ago. That process is now on hold after the board rescinded the request in the fall.
No ULURP committee meeting to redraft the rezoning letter has been scheduled by the board as of Wednesday afternoon, but Imperiale said it will take place "within two weeks."