Arrests Made at Broadway Triangle Rezoning Hearing

Juan Ramos (center), chair of the Broadway Triangle Coalition and Southside United HDFC-Los Sures, was arrested after he led a group of protesters in disrupting the City Planning Committee’s hearing of the rezoning planned for the former Pfizer site, which is in the Broadway Triangle. (Photo via Kings County Politics)

More than two weeks after Juan Ramos led protesters in shutting down a hearing on the rezoning of the Broadway Triangle, the chair of the Broadway Triangle Coalition and Southside United HDFC-Los Sures, along with four other activists, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct while protesting another public meeting on the controversial project, reports Kelly Mena in Kings County Politics. The July 26 City Planning Commission meeting “was the next step in the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process for the project to move forward.”

Plans for the former Pfizer site proposed by the developer, the Rabsky Group, include mixed-income residential and retail space, along with public open space and a parking area. The Broadway Triangle Coalition and other protesters argue that the rezoning would displace longtime South Williamsburg residents, the majority of them Black and Latino.

“As you can see now, everything that has been developed in the Broadway Triangle up to this point, there are no black and brown faces in those developments and we see that as a problem. This project is going to bring in people who can afford luxury rentals and at the same time price out people who have called [South Williamsburg] home for a long time” said Ramos.

But Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director of the United Jewish Organization (UJO) of Williamsburg, argues that the recent discrimination claims are “anti-Semitic” and are only going to create a further rift between the Black, Jewish and Latino communities in the area.

However, the longtime Williamsburg non-profit organization Southside United HDFC-Los Sures, claim that their opposition is not about “anti-Semitism” but equality and fairness. They believe that they are being disproportionately targeted and displaced from their homes compared to the Jewish community.

“The issue here is affordable housing and it should be open to everyone. Housing is something everyone needs and everyone should have an equal opportunity at and everyone hasn’t,” said Barbara Schliff, Tenant Organizing Director for Southside United HDFC-Los Sures.

Kings County Politics notes a particular item of contention – bedroom sizes. The matter was addressed in Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ list of recommendations when he announced his disapproval of the project. Read more on this, as well as the position of City Council member Stephen Levin, whose district includes the Broadway Triangle site.

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