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NYU Langone Health—Cobble Hill
83 Amity Street
(Corner of Amity and Hicks Streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11201
NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn
Level 1 Trauma Center
150 55th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
COURIER L 4 IFE, DECEMBER 11-17, 2020
Not having it!
Ditmas Park residents organize
against Key Food upzoning
BY JESSICA PARKS
Ditmas Park residents are demanding
an end to a proposed upzoning of a
Cortelyou Road grocery store — claiming
the proposal fails to consider the
needs of the community.
“What we want is a good building for
the community,” said Elana Reinholtz, a
founding member of the neighborhood
grassroots group Save Cortelyou, which
organized in response to the 1620 Cortelyou
Tony Doleh, co-owner of the onestory
Key Food at E. 17th Street, is seeking
approval to build two stories taller
than the current zoning restriction of
seven stories — arguing the extra fl oors
are needed to make room for a supermarket
in the residential structure.
But residents contend the building
will stand much higher than the proposed
two stories when considering
bulkheads and elevator shafts, and
will tower over the rest of the Victorian
“With the bulkheads, elevators
and all that stuff, we are going to like
100-and-something feet, it is going to
be two-thirds more than everything
around it,” Reinholtz said.
The fi ve-person community group
are calling on the grocer to construct
a building that benefi ts their community
with real affordable housing
and climate resiliency measures,
and charge that the current proposal
doesn’t provide either.
“Come with your proposal and show
that you listened to the community,” Reinholtz
asked of developers, adding that
the plan’s proposed 21 units designated
“affordable” under the city’s Mandatory
Inclusionary Housing Program “are not
affordable, and they are not what the
The fewer than two dozen “affordable
units” are representative of developers
doing the bare minimum within
the 85-unit structure, said activists, who
are demanding that they offer a higher
number of affordable units at prices set
for the real incomes of Ditmas Park families,
and at sizes suitable to families.
“We need low-income and ultra lowincome,”
Reinholtz said. “They are
building studios and one-bedrooms.
That is small and that’s not what the
Moreover, members of Save Cortelyou
fear the development will drive
up housing prices in the neighborhood
by Prospect Park — effectively driving
many neighbors out of their homes.
Members of the volunteer advocacy
group say they have been putting in
more than 40 hours a week collectively
to educate their neighbors on the incoming
development, which will force the
grocery store and a laundromat to close
City Council Candidate Josue Pierre attended
a rally last month against the proposed
development. Elana Reinholtz
“It’s interesting to see how quickly
they realize that maybe this isn’t a fair
trade for us to lose our supermarket for
two years,” said John Oros, a Save Cortelyou
The proposed development could also
put the nearly 100 employees at the grocery
store out of a job, the activists said,
and could require the rerouting of two
widely-used city buses.
“What are they going to do when they
have to demolish the supermarket and
build 44 parking spaces underground,”
Reinholtz said of the grocery store employees.
The group said they have been making
daily calls to their local representatives
to discuss the proposed development.
As of Monday, the activists said
they had not received a response from
area Councilman Mathieu Eugene, who
holds outsized infl uence over the project’s
approval in the City Council.
“We don’t know how Eugene is going
to vote,” Reinholtz said.
Save Cortelyou organized a sociallydistanced
rally last month that saw over
100 participants and was attended by six
city council candidates, but not by their
“We are at 250 calls and counting…
and 100 people in and out of the rally on
Saturday,” said Reinholtz.
Community Board 14 issued an approval
on the development’s rezoning
on Nov. 9 hinged on a long list of conditions.
The board asked the developers
to increase affordability measures,
reconfi gure the building’s setback,
research the proposed structure’s
shadow, demonstrate that there are no
environmental concerns on the property,
expand on a traffi c study, provide
bike storage for residential and
public use, and commit to providing a
greener streetscape plan with regular
maintenance and plantings.
Eugene’s offi ce and Tony Doleh’s lawyer
did not respond to requests for comment.
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NYU Langone Health—Cobble Hill
83 Amity Street (Corner of Amity and Hicks Streets)
Brooklyn, NY 11201