BROOKLYN, NY, March 29, 2012: Today, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) rallied with elected officials, union members and local residents against the Foster Avenue Hotel, a controversial proposed establishment at 5911 Foster Avenue in East Flatbush. The hotel has been a recent point of deep concern for the negative impact it could have on public safety in the surrounding community.
"A hotel opening in this part of Brooklyn, in a residential area, is not going to be a Hyatt or a Radisson," said Council Member Williams. "This is more than likely to be a short stay motel that promotes behaviors such as prostitution, illegal drug sales and abuse and other criminal activities. As a family-oriented community, public safety is our top priority. We want a vibrant business area, but not at the expense of the community's wellbeing."
Council Member Williams and Assembly Member Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn) co-convened an emergency community meeting at the Glenwood Houses Community Center on March 20th to discuss the proposed hotel. Over 100 people attended on short notice to express their outrage. In response, a letter writing campaign has been initiated to ask Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I-New York) to intervene and oppose construction.
Because the site is within an M1-1 zoning district, which allows for a range of uses including hotels, this proposal was not required to go in front of Community Board 18 or the City Planning Commission. Council Member Williams is exploring possible legislation to require new hotel developments in residential areas, regardless of 'as-of-right status', to present before their local community board.
"The necessity for a hotel within this neighborhood is simply nonexistent. Therefore I have to strongly question the intent of the hotelier's plan, and stand firmly with the residents of the neighborhood in strong opposition to a hotel at this site," said Assembly Member N. Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly. "I would normally welcome new businesses to our area. However, an establishment of this type would be a major step backwards in the community's efforts to maintain a safe, high quality of life living environment for their families."
"We don't want a transient population in our community that will have a negative impact on private homeowners and their young children," said Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn), State Committeewoman/District Leader of the 42nd Assembly District. "How can we ensure the safety and the security management of a hotel that bypassed the community's decision making process? We will not allow this in our backyard!"
"This intrusion into our community is like a replay of a bad movie!" said Dorothy Turano, district manager of Community Board 18. "More than 20 years ago we fought this fight on Utica Avenue at Avenue H and we won! Then Community Board Chairperson, Carl Kruger, and District Manager, Frank R. Seddio, were successful in blocking the development of a "hot-sheets" motel at that location. The winning strategy of 20 years ago can be duplicated today by an energized and organized community together with our strong and dedicated elected leadership. That's the only way of winning this battle...and you will!"
"We are facing a big problem in our neighborhood," said Roy McKenzie, president of the East 59th Street Block Association. "Plans are being made to build a hotel next to Fish Eye Bar! What will this do to our neighborhood? This will devalue our properties, attract drugs and prostitution, and threaten the safety of our neighborhood, especially our children and elders. We cannot allow this to happen!"
Council Member Williams' office has repeatedly tried to contact the owner of the site, Viral Patel of DVMB and Viral Hospitality LLC in Lindenhurst. So far, there has been no response.
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams represents the 45th Council District, which covers Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, and parts of Midwood and Canarsie. He is the chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee and co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence. He is also the Co-Vice Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and a founding member of the Progressive Caucus. He was first elected to office in 2009.