Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Status Report on NYU 2031 by CAAN 2031

The Community Alliance on NYU 2031 (CAAN 2031) has prepared an update and next steps document regarding NYU 2031 which we have included below.  (Hat tip: Washington Square Village Tenants Association.)

The NYU 2031 "Core Expansion Plan" is now at City Planning, where review sessions to date have brought some proposed changes to the 2031 Plan. Some of the recommendations include or remove concessions from NYU announced at the Borough President stage. The next review session (no public testimony permitted, but anyone can attend) is expected on June 4, but it is clear that staff members prepare

recommendations to the Commissioners in advance - so letters, faxes and emails should be sent to City Planning ASAP (addresses at the end of this email). 
There may be more changes before the June 6 binding vote. The following are unofficial notes of the May 21st review session from what was heard at the brief discussion. 
  • Reduce Mercer Building to 162 ft (bulkhead 192ft)
  • Reduce LaGuardia Building to 128 ft (bulkhead 158 ft)
  • Bleecker Street Building to be 108 ft (bulkhead 138ft) - no dorm on top
  • "Notch" may be removed (the "notch" was to be a 15-foot cutout of the Zipper to give more light/air to Mercer near Bleecker) 
  • Eliminate hotel use in "Zipper" building. No reduction in the building's total square footage.
  • Eliminate commercial (C1-5) overlay in area east of Washington Square Park.

Open Space
  • Light well at the Mercer Building should be decreased to allow for the paths to be 40 feet wide.
  • Create an Open Space Oversight Organization: comprised of members from NYU, Community Board, Borough President, Parks Dept, Local Councilmember
  • Landscape design: future modifications to design option desired without going through full ULURP.
    • Done with input of Oversight Organization & approval by CPC
  • Map two of the park strips (LaGuardia & Mercer between Bleecker and W. 3rd Streets) as Parkland; eliminate below grade space.
  • LaGuardia Community Garden:
    • Bleecker Street as staging area, but Gardens will be impacted by 30 months of sidewalk shedding from construction of Bleecker Street Building.
    • After construction of the Bleecker Building, permanent shadows will be cast on the garden; alternative space sought.
    • If not relocated, creative means of addressing issues, like Plexiglas sidewalk shed or grow lights under shed, should be considered. 
  • No Temporary Gym
    • Delays north block construction until 2021
  • NYU agrees to 8am-4:30pm weekday construction hours & limited weekend hours
  • Key Park will be kept until Mercer building starts construction (phase 3)

While the deadline for comments related to NYU's Draft Environmental Impact Statement was May 7, comments on the Plan can still be sent. Contact City Planning via any of the following:
Hon. Amanda M. Burden
Chair, City Planning Commission
22 Reade Street
New York, NY 10007 
fax: 212-720-3219 
email: aburden@planning.nyc.gov

After City Planning, the final step in the ULURP process is City Council. CAAN suggests that each member group contact their Councilmember and ask her to deny NYU's application, citing the reasons most appropriate to your group/association/building. More info/addresses/suggestions to follow City Planning's vote.
NOTE: The most recent CAAN article published was the Progress Report in last month's Villager: http://www.thevillager.com/?p=3954

June 4, 6-8pm at LaGuardia Place south of Bleecker Street: remember the '60s Sit Ins? LaGuardia Corner Garden (LCG) is hosting a "Seed-In" to protest NYU's 2031 Plan. Seeds in little pots will be given out to represent what would be left growing if NYU 2031 is approved.

June 6, 8pm at 505 LaGuardia Community Room (1st Fl): Bleecker Area Merchants' and Residents' Association (BAMRA) meeting features special guest Julie Menin, Chair of CB1 who has issued an open invitation for NYU to build downtown.

June 7, 6:30pm at The New School Tishman Auditorium (66 W. 12th St): Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP)'s Annual Meeting and Awards - one of the recipients is Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who has a history of supporting preservation. More at http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/events/awards.htm

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