NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A botanical battle is brewing in Brooklyn.
Developers want to put high-rises near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but the community says the buildings would cast shadows, leaving the foliage with little light.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported Thursday, warm rays from the sun are the lifeblood of the garden’s lush landscape. Soon, though, portions of the pristine space may fall into the shadows – that is, if developers get city approval.
“I just worry. It’s such a fantastic resource that we have here, and it would be a shame to see any damage done to it,” said Annie Landrum, of Midwood, Brooklyn.
Two separate developers hope to build luxury high-rises in Crown Heights, just one block from the garden. Cornell Realty’s plans suggest a building roughly 20 stories tall, while Continuum Company aims to reach more than 40.
“There has to be a point where we draw the line as communities,” said activist Alicia Boyd, who’s lived there for 19 years.
Boyd says enough is enough, and she’s not alone. Thousands signed her Change.org petition.
“We just had a shadow study done by two independent groups,” she said. “They both came up with the same conclusion.”
She said the studies revealed the two developments combined would cast 17.5 acres of shadow on the garden, so one third of the space would be in the shade.
“There’s so much concrete, this is an urban environment, and these are our oasis,” she said.
Michael Burke said he hopes the construction plans crumble.
“Because it’s going to shade half of the garden… well, my half,” he said. “When the sun sets, the shadows will fall over here and it will be terrible for the plants… The people won’t be able to see the plants, because they’ll all die.”
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden told CBS2 it is strongly advocating for current zoning to remain intact, meaning any development must be just six to seven stories high. The garden said the cap was put in place to protect the plants.
The city told CBS2 both private proposals require a full review process. Cornell Realty conducted a shadow study for its proposed development and concluded that its buildings would not have significant adverse impacts on the garden.