In Coordinated Action, Opposition Files Lawsuit to Halt Elizabeth Street Garden Development

Posted on: March 7th, 2019 at 5:06 am by

Following months of legal threats, opponents of a plan to redevelop the Elizabeth Street Garden have filed twin lawsuits to stop it from happening.

The garden itself and the separate nonprofit devoted to its protection (Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden) filed the action against the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in Manhattan Supreme Court this week, alleging that the city’s environmental review process doesn’t take into account the impacts of losing this Little Italy green space. The goal is to subject the proposal to the more rigorous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before proceeding with the development.

“Respondents failed to take a hard look at relevant areas of environmental concern-specifically, Zoning, Open Space, Neighborhood Character, and Public Policy-with respect to the Proposed Project, and failed to recognize the adverse environmental impacts that may result from the Proposed Project,” the suit, filed by Friends of the Elizabeth Street Garden, which names Assembly members Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou as co-plaintiffs, states.

As previously reported, the Haven Green project aims to install 123 affordable studio apartments measuring roughly 400 square-feet each. There is also luxury ground floor retail, and 11,200 square-feet of below-market-rate office space reserved for co-developer Habitat NYC. However, regarding the latter, the EAS notes this space as a “Community Facility,” yet later contradicts the description as “commercial office space” with “39 employees.”

Needless to say, the proposal has received sharp rebuke from across the community.

The dual suits also charge that the city evaluated Haven Green based on the wrong zoning—C6-2 instead of the Special Little Italy District—and says that the building height and other features would actually violate the current zoning here. In addition, the complaints rebuke the city’s designation of the garden as an Urban Development Action Area—a classification typically employed to revitalize blighted land.

“The city talks of preserving public open spaces, but it must act,” said Friends’ counsel Michael Gruen in a public statement. “The open public space within a half mile of the Garden, including the Garden, adds up to just 10 percent of what the city proclaims is the rock bottom need for a residential area.”

“The development team is aware of the lawsuits against the City and stands firmly behind the vision of Haven Green to bring deeply affordable, LGBTQ-friendly, senior housing to one of New York’s most gentrified and high opportunity neighborhoods,” a spokesman from developer Pennrose Properties told us. “As proven, responsible stewards of public land and community assets, the Haven Green development team partners support HPD in their use of City-owned land to create critical affordable housing for low-income seniors and public green space for the community.”

Margaret Chin, major player in making redevelopment happen, declined to comment, stating that she was not named in the lawsuit.

Recent Stories

Police Chase, Shoot at Man Armed with 2 Knives on the Bowery

Police this morning shot at an alleged robbery suspect who resisted arrest and threatened officers with two knives. It began at 8:00am when police received the first call about an emotionally disturbed man who threatened a woman with a glass bottle outside 80 East Third Street, and attempted to steal money. He then fled south […]

The ‘Basic Necessities’ of Broome Street

Six months ago, Basic Necessities became part of Broome Street. Conceived by artist Michelle Repiso, the multimedia project tackles “three individuals and the mechanisms they used to sustain their humanity while incarcerated.” Now, with an Artist Corps Grant, Repiso is taking it one step further with community engagement. Tomorrow, the artist will be crowdsourcing participants’ […]

St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery Awarded Sacred Sites Grant of $35,000

One of the oldest houses of worship in the city will receive some much needed financial aid for their ongoing restoration endeavours. The New York Landmarks Conservancy has awarded St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery $35,000 through their Sacred Sites grant, a designation that administers monies to historic religious properties throughout the state. The church on East […]

Borough President Implores Parks Commissioner to Address Community Concerns in Sara D. Roosevelt Park

Two stabbings within a twelve-hour period last weekend highlighted the decrepit, yet dangerous state of Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The violence apparently pushed Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to exert pressure on the Parks Department to address certain core issues. In a letter to Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff this week, Brewer identified two key concerns – […]

Loved Ones Crowdfunding for Grubhub Deliveryman Stabbed to Death on the LES

Loved ones have taken to online crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to help raise money for the Grubhub deliveryman stabbed to death in Sara D. Roosevelt Park last weekend. As reported, the incident transpired early Saturday morning near the Hester Playground in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Surveillance footage shows that the attacker sat on the bench next […]