Lawsuit challenges Bedford-Union Armory plan

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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN -

The Legal Aid Society on Wednesday filed a lawsuit challenging the Bedford-Union Armory development plan and the city's land-use procedures.

The lawsuit came just a day after a City Council subcommittee approved a revised plan and one day before it was set to go before the full City Council for a vote.

The recently approved plan includes 400 rental apartments, 250 of which will be affordable. The project, developed by BFC Partners, will also include a large recreation center.

"I am proud to announce my support for a dramatically revised Bedford-Union Armory project, which will provide the greatest level of low-income and affordable housing that the Crown Heights community has seen in a decade," City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo said in a statement.

The lawyers involved in the suit are fighting for the city to rethink its current proposal, saying City Hall has failed to create a plan that is truly affordable for residents. They say they believe the current proposal will not help community members who are at risk of being displaced as Crown Heights continues to gentrify.

Lawyers also say there are legal flaws in the method the city uses to evaluate tenant displacement in land-use decisions.

"We think they were supposed to look at displacement of rent-regulated tenants, which is accelerating all across Crown Heights," says Judith Goldiner, of the Legal Aid Society. "The city failed to do that, so we believe that the court should reject this plan and tell them to start over."

Regardless of the outcome of Thursday's vote, the nonprofit society says it hopes the lawsuit makes the city and developer go back to the drawing board.

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