|Dear Friends of the Garden,|
I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Adrian Benepe, and I joined Brooklyn Botanic Garden one month ago as president and CEO. Before then, I spent my career advocating for green spaces for all New Yorkers. Like most of you, I’ve known and loved BBG for a long time.
That’s why I am reaching out today about the Garden’s Fight for Sunlight, the campaign to raise awareness of and opposition to a massive development proposed for 960 Franklin Avenue. The height and density of that development, just one block from the Garden’s eastern boundary, poses an existential threat to our conservatory complex, where plants are propagated for the entire
collection, and where our rarest collections are maintained. It will also create a shadow at certain times of year and day that will reach all the way across the Garden into Prospect Park, as well as afternoon shadows over adjacent parks and open spaces east of the proposed building, along with other negative environmental impacts.
We urge you to enlist your friends and family in the Fight for Sunlight by encouraging them to sign our petition and join our mailing list. We will be delivering the Fight for Sunlight petition at the upcoming Community Board 9 meeting when this project is on the agenda, in either December or January. We have signed up tens of thousands of supporters and raised awareness through tabling at local greenmarkets and other community outreach, but we need your help now to reach every person who will be impacted by this threat.
Since launching the Fight for Sunlight in March 2019, we have been in frequent contact with officials at the Department of City Planning to track the status of the the 960 Franklin Avenue Rezoning project application. We learned last week that the project will be certified to enter the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) on November 30 or December 14 at the City Planning Commission’s review session. While this session is not open to public testimony, it does mark the beginning of the public review process where your participation is crucial.
There are many ways to make your voice heard in this fight, from signing the petition, to contacting key policymakers and advisors, to testifying at upcoming meetings and public hearings. As we did last year, BBG will convene virtual events this fall and winter to train and support volunteers. Stay tuned for updates, and check out technical resources on our Fight for Sunlight page.
In this fight against the harmful impacts of shadow, cold, wind, and darkness, we are joined by and grateful to local activists, elected officials, institutions, and individuals who advocate for a more livable, greener, healthier city—a more human city. Together with your support we will turn back this threat.