Cemetery Shuffle

Minerva, looking down.

Last night, Brooklyn Community Board 7 overwhelmingly voted against HMS Associates’ plan to build a 70-foot-high development at 614 Seventh Avenue in Sunset Park.

The neighborhood had recently been down-zoned by the Department of City Planning, and the lot in question has a 50-foot height limit. (See our previous coverage on the down-zoning here.) The community board found that HMS was not vested–meaning that the foundation wasn’t completed–before the down-zoning took effect.

The community board’s resolution comes after the owners of Greenwood Cemetery made a deal with the developer not to oppose the project; in return, the developer pledged to design a cutback of the building so that the cemetery’s iconic statue of Minerva–which commemorates the Battle of Brooklyn at the outset of the Revolutionary War–could continue to peer across New York Harbor at the Statue of Liberty. (The Courier LIfe originally covered the agreement.)

But neighborhood locals were skeptical of the developer’s sincerity, noting that early versions of the building plans were filed with city that didn’t include the cutout.

The board’s resolution is advisory; the Board of Standards and Appeals must still rule on the plans.

-Matthew Grace Cemetery Shuffle