BP Adams Expands Groundbreaking Faith-Based Development Initiative in Latest ULURP Recommendations



BROOKLYN, NY, March 7, 2017: Today, as part of his latest Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) recommendations, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams expanded his groundbreaking Faith-Based Development Initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort in New York City that connects local houses of worship with information and resources to explore opportunities for developing their properties to create affordable housing and other community benefits. In response to land use applications submitted by Atlantic East Affiliates LLC, a joint effort between Brisa Builders Corporation and Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, to rezone 1860 Eastern Parkway in Ocean Hill, Borough President Adams called for the creation of zoning map amendments that would facilitate, in collaboration with True Holy Church, a 10-story, mixed-use residential building with 67 affordable housing units and new church space. The response was issued following months of dialogue with local stakeholders and community activists, highlighted by a public hearing he held in the Courtroom of Brooklyn Borough Hall on Monday, February 6th. Borough President Adams touted this project as a model opportunity through his initiative to capitalize on limited available space to produce much-needed affordable housing. 

“This is the first opportunity I have had to use the ULURP process to advance my Faith-Based Development Initiative, and I am excited to do so in a community like Ocean Hill, which is ideal for partnering houses of worship with developers committed to affordable housing for Brooklynites in true need,” said Borough President Adams. “This project promises to create critically-needed housing for dozens of our very low- and low-income neighbors, including formerly homeless veterans. It is my mission to ensure Brooklyn can remain a place where everyone from everywhere can afford to call it home, and this initiative is setting the standard for a new approach that the rest of our city can follow.” 

In addition to the creation of local affordable housing through the proposed project, True Holy Church, the property owner of 1860 Eastern Parkway, will reconstruct and expand its existing facility. All of the housing units in the development would be priced at or below 60 percent of area median income (AMI), with 15 percent of the units set aside for formerly homeless veterans; True Holy Church, which has been a fixture in the community since 1952, has an existing relationship with a nearby men’s homeless shelter that has a high population of veterans supported by the church through its various programs. 

Borough President Adams hailed the announcement that the proposed project would be built to Passive House design standards, a sustainable construction practice that uses air sealing, energy recovery, and insulation strategies to improve energy performance and reduce a building’s carbon footprint; he noted this would be the first-such development to achieve this goal through his role in the ULURP process. He also highlighted the significant minority- and women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) involvement in the effort, meeting one of his priority goals for local economic development. As a precautionary measure to ensure any addition of zoning rights would result in the creation of affordable housing, Borough President Adams conditioned his approval of the application on the limiting of the rezoning to 1860 Eastern Parkway and part of its neighboring tax lot.

To date, Borough President Adams’ office has identified more than 2,700 tax lots across Brooklyn that are associated with houses of worship, with hundreds of those estimated to have corresponding property rights that may align with the Faith-Based Development Initiative. Last October, he announced a $1 million investment from his Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) capital budget dedicated to the first two projects associated with this initiative; $500,000 was granted to be used for construction costs of Calvary Intergenerational, a 154-unit mixed-use affordable housing development in Crown Heights targeted to serve low-income seniors and families, while another $500,000 was allocated to Ebenezer Plaza, a 481-unit mixed-use affordable housing development in Brownsville targeted to serve low-income families.                                                                                                                               

Borough President Adams’ recommendations will be considered by the City Planning Commission (CPC) as part of their public meeting on Wednesday, March 8th. 

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