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An Eyesore Growns in Brooklyn
November 17th, 2010

Barclays Center may never host an NBA champion but it already has a distinction: novelist and urban expert James Howard Kunstler has named it the eyesore of the month (for October; sorry we caught up with this a bit late).

In his “award proclamation” — under a pretty scary picture of the future home of the Nets — Kunstler writes, “This basketball arena, designed to look like a Little Debbie Peanut Butter and Coconut Snack Cake, was designed by Ellerbe Becket and SHoP Architects. But the cherry-on-top of the whole deal is the so-called “plaza” in the foreground — a leftover triangular scrap of undevelopable real estate that [developer Bruce] Ratner threw to the people of Brooklyn as a bone to dogs. Lovely spot, huh, sandwiched, as it is, between about eleven lanes of traffic.”

By on November 17, 2010, 7:28 pm
In category: Arts,Community Development,Land Use | No Comments »

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Critics Say Study is a Sham (Update)
October 27th, 2010

living

Advocates and council members gathered on the steps of City Hall today to slam a city commissioned study on living wages, calling it “smoke and mirrors.”

The $1 million study, which is being conducted by Boston-based Charles River Associates, will examine the sustainability of a living wage policy in the five boroughs. A bill to require living wages at city-subsidized developments is currently languishing at the council.

At issue is one economist on the study team — David Neumark of the University of California. Supporters of living wages say Neumark is inherently biased, having authored several studies critical of living and minimum wage policies.

“Hiring David Neumark to advise the city on wage policies is like hiring a global warming skeptic to evaluate the city’s greenhouse gas strategy,” said Paul K. Sonn of the National Employment Law Project.

The city Economic Development Corp., which commissioned the study after advocates started to call for living wages last year, argues Neumark is in the top 5 percent of economists. City officials point to studies where Neumark found living wages reduced poverty — albeit those studies show his “support” for the policy overall is tepid at best.

The city also says a diverse stakeholder group will review the study’s findings, which should be completed this spring.

All of those arguments aren’t silencing critics.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on October 27, 2010, 2:49 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Living Wage Waters are Choppy
October 26th, 2010

In the wake of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s decision not to support paid sick leave, some City Council members and advocates are attempting to make waves on another issue: the living wage.

Currently two bills to require some sort of wage mandate at city-subsidized developments are treading water at City Hall. One would require a prevailing wage for building service employees, while the other would require a living wage for every worker on a city-assisted development, including the development’s tenants.

Quinn has not taken a position on either. When asked during her sick leave announcement earlier this month, she sidestepped the issue.

The issue came to a head last year when the council defeated a proposal to morph the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into a shopping mall. The developer on the project would not agree to a living wage mandate — defined as $10 an hour with benefits — which is largely credited with killing the project. Photo credit: (cc) 2009  Atomische  Tom Giebel

In the latest feud, council members and advocates will gather on the steps of City Hall tomorrow to denounce a $1 million city-funded study on the effectiveness and success of living wage policies. The study was commissioned by the Economic Development Corp. and is being conducted by Charles River Associates — a consulting firm based in Boston. It is supposed to be completed by next spring.

The presser tomorrow, according to an advisory we just got, will “exposes Charles River Associates (CRA), EDC’s choice to conduct the study, as a business-backed lobbying group using economists who oppose living wage and even minimum wage policies for EDC’s study.”

The chief economist on the study is Daniel Hamermesh, a reputable professor at the University of Texas at Austin. David Neumark, a professor of economics at the University of California and a fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, is also on the study team. He has authored several studies questioning the sustainability of living wage policies.

The Bloomberg adminsitration said it would not consider a widespread living wage policy until the study was completed — a move some critics say is meant to stall the legislation at the City Council. Earlier this year, one administration official said the wage proposals could squash economic development and be potentially against the City Charter.

By on October 26, 2010, 12:39 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Quinn, Stringer Showdown?
October 1st, 2010

Yes, both are potential mayoral candidates in 2013.

It might be a little early for a full-blown rivalry, but Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer definitely disagree on a proposal to survey the city’s vacant properties stalled at the City Council. The bill, which has 28 sponsors, would create an annual accounting of all of the city’s vacant buildings and lots.

The group pushing the proposal, Picture the Homeless, hope it would spur the development of those properties as temporary housing for the homeless. Quinn said this week the survey would be “enormously expensive” and the money for it would be better used serving the homeless.

In response to our reporting on the issue, Stringer sent over the following statement.

I am disappointed that the City Council quashed legislation that would survey vacant buildings throughout the city, in order to identify new sources of temporary housing for the homeless.

In 2007 I released the results of Manhattan’s first ever survey of vacant properties, finding that there is a significant number of vacancies in the borough representing potential for thousands of new affordable housing units. Along with the results, I proposed an annual survey of vacant buildings which had been actively backed by Anti-Homeless organizations. Although there is a cost to this idea, its potential long-term value to the city is so obvious.

If a citywide vacant lot count would indeed cost millions of dollars, then I believe we should look to more creative options, rather than throw up our hands and pull the plug on this important initiative.

One possible approach to a vacant lot count that keeps costs low would be to utilize volunteers from the Mayors NYC Service program. The City already dispatches volunteers for its annual street homeless count, so this approach would not be without precedent. And, to be honest, counting vacant lots isnt rocket science. It would require a minimal amount of training. Most able bodied New Yorkers interested in enhancing the long-term vitality of their communities could make a positive contribution by participating in a city-wide vacant lot count.

I call on the City Council to reconsider this decision and let this badly-needed housing program go forward. We cannot afford to be pennywise and pound foolish at a time when the recession has made day to day survival for the homeless tougher than ever.

In response to Stringer’s statement, Maria Alvarado, Quinn’s spokesperson, said the bill at the council would require the survey of vacant buildings, which is “more complicated” than just counting empty lots. The council applauds the borough president for his study, Alvarado said, but simultaneously asks what “clear policy changes” came out of it?

By on October 1, 2010, 1:35 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance,Social Services | 3 Comments »

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Firm Selected for Living Wage Study
August 12th, 2010

The city Economic Development Corp. has selected Boston-based Charles River Associates to conduct a $1 million study on the impact of living wage policies across the country and how they might affect the Big Apple’s economy.

The study is in response to an outcry from labor unions and advocates for the city to adopt a living wage — a debate that culminated in the defeat of a controversial development project in the Bronx last year called the Kingsbridge Armory. The City Council voted the plan down when the developer would not promise to force retail tenants to pay a living wage.

The adminsitration has said it would like to conduct a study before it considered any widespread policy, and the move has effectively stalled two pieces of living wage legislation at the council — one to require a living wage for building service workers at city-assisted developments and another that would require all city subsidized developments pay a living wage.

Daniel Hamermesh, a well respected professor at the University of Texas at Austin, will be the chief economist on the study, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2011. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Matthew Thompson, a vice president at Charles River Associates, will lead the project.

Even before Charles River Associates was selected as the consultant, elected officials and living wage advocates were debating the potential results. Comptroller John Liu called it a “sham” in June after the Economic Development Corp. failed to appoint an advisory panel of labor economists to oversee the study’s methodology and results.

Now some advocates are questioning the objectivity of at least one member of the study’s team, specifically David Neumark, a professor of economics at the University of California and a fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. Neumark has authored several studies questioning the economic viability of living wage laws.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on August 12, 2010, 5:50 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 3 Comments »

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Commission Clears Way for Mosque
August 3rd, 2010

As expected the Landmarks Preservation Commission just cleared the way for the construction of a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero. In a 9-0 vote, the commission ruled a 152-year-old building that once housed a Burlington Coat Factory store did not deserve preservation and so could be razed to make way for the 13-story proposed building.

The structure at 45-47 Park Place “does not rise to the level of an individual landmark,” commission chair Robert Tierney said.

By most accounts, this was the main regulatory hurdle the Islamic center had to clear, although it remains uncertain whether and how opponents, include an array of Republican politicians, will continue to press their case.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has supported the project on the grounds of religious freedom, has scheduled an event to discuss the vote on Governors Island at noon today. He will, according to the mayor’s press office, be joined by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and religious leaders. In case youre wondering what his message might be, the announcement notes the mayor will speak “with the Statue of Liberty in the background” and that Governors Island “is where the Dutch who founded New Amsterdam — the earliest religiously tolerant colonial settlement in America — first lived.”

By on August 3, 2010, 10:50 am
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Land Use | No Comments »

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Charter Commission Dives Into Priorities
July 12th, 2010

It’s a sure bet the city Charter Revision Commission will send term limits back to the voters this fall, but it’s too soon to tell what proposal will be the odds on favorite.

Members of the city’s Charter Revision Commission met in a crowded, sweltry room in Lower Manhattan this evening to try to cull through proposals offered by its staff in a preliminary report released Friday. The report recommends myriad issues for the commission to explore — none more controversial than term limits.

So far, the report breaks down the issue by asking whether to go back to the voters with just two terms or to offer three terms for members of the City Council and just two for the mayor, comptroller and public advocate. Tonight it appeared commissioners favored rescinding the controversial third term extension approved by the council in 2008 and going back to two terms.

“Since the people not once, but twice voted for two, two’s what should be on the ballot,” said Commissioner Kenneth M. Moltner.

Following the meeting, Commission Chairman Matthew Goldstein said the commission has not ruled out three terms. “There is varied views on this,” he said.

Several commissioners also suggested allowing voters to opine on doing away with term limits entirely.

Also at hand is the issue of who can extend term limits and when. While the issue of banning the council from acting on term limits again was initially palatable to commissioners and members of the public, several commissioners this evening said the prohibition would likely be challenged in court. The consensus tonight was to require any legislative change in term limits apply to a future class.

Following initial expectations that the commission would dive into issues of government power (like doing away with the public advocate), land use and nonpartisan elections, Goldstein said these topics were too large to fully dissect before this fall’s election.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on July 12, 2010, 10:20 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Charter Commission Puts out a Preliminary To Do List
July 9th, 2010

Those hoping the city’s Charter Revision Commission will consider term limits, instant run off voting and the consolidation of the Voter Assistance Commission (which we report on here) with the Campaign Finance Board are in luck.

But if you were banking on a boost to borough presidents’ power or rescinding the authority to oversee lobbyists from the city clerk, better luck next year.

The preliminary staff report from the commission was released this afternoon, which outlines recommendations for how the commission should proceed.

On term limits, the staff recommended the commission get more comment from the public on whether the charter should limit terms to two, possibly three for City Council members and prohibit council members from extending their own terms.

To increase voter participation, the report suggests the commission get more pubic comment on instant run off voting to select party candidates in primaries for citywide offices. The report floats the possibility of putting the issue on the ballot in November (We have covered this issue extensively here and here and here). This system would require voters rank their three top candidates during a primary election, and it would eliminate the need for runoffs.

Also to bring out the vote, the report recommends cutting the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot in half to 3,750 signatures for citywide candidates, 2,000 for borough-wide candidates and 450 for City Council candidates.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on July 9, 2010, 5:29 pm
In category: City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Sweet Result for Domino Developers
June 29th, 2010

Alana Horowitz filed this post.

A six-year battle over the fate of the former Domino Sugar factory site neared its close today as two key City Council committees unanimously approving its redevelopment. A vote by the full council is expected later today.

The zoning subcommittee and Land Use committee voted 9-0 and 23-0 respectively in favor of the plan, which would replace the old buildings with high-rise residential towers. The ayes included the district’s council member, Stephen Levin, who had previously opposed the project, which has the enthusiastic backing of the Bloomberg administration.

Levin had criticized the development proposed by CPC Resources as “too big” and worried that the 660 units of affordable housing — 30 percent of the total — would not be enough to meet his community’s needs. He wanted the project’s highest towers to be reduced from 40 stories to 28 and the project to include additional low-cost housing.

But last minute negotiations seemed to satisfy the Williamsburg lawmaker. The plan still includes only 660 low-cost units, but the towers are now capped at 34 stories.

“The goal has always been to bring the maximum number of affordable housing units to the Williamsburg community,” said Levin.

Councilmember Diana Reyna, a longtime supporter of the project, was thrilled with the council’s decision.

“I believed in this project, my community believed in this project,” she said. “We’re very happy.”

Councilmember Charles Barron also voted for the plan, but said he was frustrated over the amount of affordable housing.

“You’re talking about 70 percent luxury now and that could change the complexity and direction of the community,” he said.

Though the developer expects the project to create over 1,000 jobs for local residents, Barron expressed skepticism. “This project needs to be monitored,” he said, or the contractors could just employ their own laborers.

The council agreed to create a community advisory board to oversee the development, as well as a shuttle service between the site and the Marcy Avenue subway station.

Besides new apartments, the project also will include a school, parks and a waterside walkway. Construction is set to start next year and last about a decade.

Any changes to the aforementioned community facilities will have be to made through the city’s land use review process.

Several council members commended Levin’s efforts during the negotiation process. “He made a difficult project much better than its original version,” said Councilman Vincent Ignizio.

By on June 29, 2010, 5:43 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Housing,Land Use | 1 Comment »

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Domino Moves Forward
June 29th, 2010

The large Domino Sugar factory project on the Williamsburg waterfront was just unanimously approved by the City Council’s zoning subcommittee.

The controversial project was supposed to be approved this morning, but further negotiations between the council and the developer held up the vote.

Councilmember Mark Weprin, the chair of the zoning subcommittee, said the changes to the application include: the two 40-story residential towers will be reduced to 34 stories, there will be a dedicated shuttle bus from the project to the Marcy Avenue station, any change in use to the project’s slated community facilities will have to go through the land use review process, and a community advisory board must be created to oversee the project.

By on June 29, 2010, 2:56 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Gotham City,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Waterfront | No Comments »

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1:30 and Waiting
June 29th, 2010

It wouldn’t be a budget day without delay.

It’s 1:30 and the council chamber is… well, empty. That is besides a few random reporters twiddling their thumbs waiting for the day’s hearings. This morning’s 11:30 a.m. zoning committee has yet to commence (they are scheduled to approve the massive Domino Sugar factory project on the Williamsburg waterfront).

And it would be safe to say the 1:30 finance committee hearing won’t be occurring anytime soon.

Stay tuned.

By on June 29, 2010, 1:47 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Waterfront | No Comments »

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Seizure Power
June 24th, 2010

The state’s highest court this morning cleared the way for Columbia University to build a new satellite campus new campus north of its existing enclave in Morningside Park. The Court of Appeal unanimous ruling overturned a lower court decision that had blocked the state from using its power of eminent domain to take seize slated for the campus.

The ruling is the latest victory for the state and city as they have declared property blighted so that another private owner can develop it for another, purportedly better use. In earlier rulings, the courts also upheld the state’s use of eminent domain in clearing the way for Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards complex in downtown Brooklyn.

Faced with such decisions, some advocates have called for legislation to change the eminent domain law. For more on the issue, see Eminent Domain Changes Seek to Limit State’s Power to Seize Property.

By on June 24, 2010, 3:12 pm
In category: Gotham City,Land Use,Law | No Comments »

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Charter Recommendations
June 24th, 2010

As the city’s Charter Revision Commission winds up its forums on various issues, groups in the city are setting out their views on what the commission might put before the voters. (The forum on land use will take place this evening at the Flushing public library.)

Earlier this week, the Women’s City Club, a long-time civic group, weighed in on two of the biggies — term limits and nonpartisan elections — and came out against both. In a letter to commission chair Matthew Goldstein, club president Ruth Acker said term limits “focus public officials’ attention on short-term results rather than long-range planning and create a musical chairs governmental game where staff and lobbyists wield undue influence.”
Read the rest of this entry »

By on June 24, 2010, 1:45 pm
In category: City Hall,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use | No Comments »

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Housing Works Sues City Over HASA Cuts
June 22nd, 2010

The city’s budget hasn’t even been approved, and they are already in court over it.

Housing Works, which provides housing services to the homeless living with HIV and AIDS, is making good on a promise to sue over cuts to the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration. The adminsitration plans to slash 248 caseworkers, which advocates at Housing Works say violates a court order requiring certain case worker to client ratios at the agency.

As part of the cut, the adminsitration has proposed to count caseworkers it contracts with in the mandated ratios. The city says it reduces service redundancies. Advocates charge those caseworkers play a different role than the city’s workers and counting them towards the ratio would be illegal.

“We’ve shown in the past that when they cut HASA our folks suffer tremendously,” said Armen Merjian, a senior staff attorney at Housing Works. “We dont want to wait for further devastating consequences to befall our plaintiffs.”

This statement was e-mailed over from a spokesperson at the Human Resources Administration, which oversees the HIV/AIDS program:

“The Human Resources Administration has received the plaintiffs papers and is in the process of reviewing them. However we do not believe there is any violation of the court order or the local law. Because this is now in active litigation, we will strenuously defend the authority of the Administration.”

The first motion from Housing Works, which was filed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning, is below. The state is also named in the suit.

TRO Brief

By on June 22, 2010, 5:43 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services | 1 Comment »

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Slush Fund Scandal at the Charter Commission
June 17th, 2010

The City Council’s now infamous slush fund scandal got its 15 minutes at the City Charter Revision Commission last night.

Under the headline of government integrity, the commission examined issues of ethics and corruption at the fourth of five issue hearings scheduled before it decides what to put on the ballot this fall. Several attendees suggested the commission examine the council’s distribution of member items — commonly thought of as pork barrell spending and the subject of alleged and confirmed criminal activity at City Hall.

“The issue of council integrity is too important to be left to the current rules or the current speaker,” said Columbia Law Professor Richard Briffault — one of the expert panelists last night. Briffault urged the commission to consider more in depth disclosure of the member items, including all of the connections elected officials have with recipients’ staff.

As part of the discretionary funding process, a council member already has to file a conflicts of interest form disclosing if he or she or their family has any connection to the nonprofit slated to receive funding. Last year, the council gave out $48.8 million in discretionary spending.

This year, Councilmember Larry Seabrook became the second council member to be indicted for money laundering in connection with the council’s discretionary funds. Conferences for his trial start next week.

Former councilmember Miguel Martinez is now serving a five year sentence in federal prison for stealing public funds partly through discretionary items.

After the scandal broke, Council Speaker Christine Quinn implemented a number of reforms to make sure the council funded legitimate nonprofits. She beefed up some of those reforms earlier this year.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on June 17, 2010, 3:28 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Living Wage Study Gets Approved -- With Skepticism
June 8th, 2010

A study to examine the economic viability of a living wage requirement was approved by the city’s Industrial Development Agency board today, but city officials, including Comptroller John Liu, are already raising questions about whether it will be truly independent.
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Photo credit: (cc) 2009 Atomische Tom Giebel


The IDA board gave the OK to use up to $1 million to study how a living wage proposal would impact the city economy. Such proposals are pending in both the City Council and the State Legislature — largely spurred from defeat of the Kingsbridge Armory project last year. The IDA has not yet selected a consultant to conduct the study. A spokesman said one will be selected in the coming weeks. The agency has received five proposals.

Liu was one of three IDA board members to vote against the living wage study, calling the proposal a “sham.”

“An independent, impartial study on wage requirements for publicly-subsidized economic development could be helpful to all parties involved,” Liu said in a prepared statement. “The consultant contract proposal before us today, however, fails to ensure the delivery of an objective product. My office had offered specific recommendations to improve the study, to no avail. It is unfortunate that the EDC is intent on squandering a million dollars on this charade of a study.”

Liu’s staff sat down with the Industrial Development Agency to make recommendations to the living wage proposal, all of which were rejected by the IDA, according to the comptroller’s office. Those recommendations included the creation of a peer review panel of labor economists to review the study’s results and allowing IDA board members to vote on whether to adopt the study’s recommendations.

According to Dave Lombino, a spokesperson at the Economic Development Corp., which oversees the IDA, the consultant would be required to regularly meet and interview with a group of stakeholders. That group includes local unions, like 32BJ, advocacy groups, like Good Jobs New York, and real estate interests, like the Real Estate Board of New York.
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By on June 8, 2010, 4:00 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Domino Moves Forward
June 7th, 2010

Domino

Photo (cc) 2009 Tach_RedGold&Green

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal to convert the landmarked Domino Sugar refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront into a mixed-use development.

Here is Commissioner Amanda M. Burden statement on the project:

The New Domino project will revitalize an 11-acre vacant and inaccessible waterfront site and adaptively reuse the recently landmarked sugar Refinery Building with 2,200 units of housing, including 660 affordable units, four acres of high quality public open space, 143,000 square feet of community facility space, and office and retail uses.

This development will, for the first time, create a significant publicly accessible open space along the quarter-mile South Williamsburg waterfront that has been closed to the surrounding community for decades.

The proposed architecture and site plan successfully accommodate the projects density with a variety of building types. The approvals granted would require the massing and materials as part of the grant of Special Permits.

The applicant has withdrawn the parking special permit application in response to input throughout the public process, and concerns raised by this Commission. In addition, changes made by the Commission to reduce the height of the northern-most commercial building will improve the relationship between that building and Grand Ferry Park. Further, provisions have been added to the projects Restrictive Declaration which will help facilitate the construction of a school in the Refinery Building, if warranted in the future.

This project will bring high-quality design and architecture, ample public open space, significant community facilities, and much needed housing, both market rate and affordable, to the Williamsburg community. I am extremely pleased to vote yes.

And for the other side, here is a statement from Councilmember Steve Levin:

“Assemblyman Lopez and I still firmly oppose the New Domino project as it is currently proposed. While I am pleased that the applicant withdrew the special permit for extra parking spaces and that the City Planning Commission reduced the height of the northernmost tower, the plan is still deeply flawed. The applicant has not adequately addressed the transportation and congestion problems associated with the project. The overall plan is simply too big. The height and density of the Domino plan will have a negative impact on the community.”

By on June 7, 2010, 6:24 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Gotham City,Housing,Land Use,nextNY,Waterfront | 1 Comment »

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It's Back
May 25th, 2010

The living wage bill, first introduced following the demise of the Kingsbridge Armory last year, is back at the City Council.

It will be officially introduced this afternoon by council members Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma at the request of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (It’s also the first time I can recall seeing a borough president introduce legislation.) The bill would require any city subsidized development pay employees on the premises a living wage. It includes any tenant of that development project, but would exempt any projects exclusively for affordable housing, cultural groups or social service organizations. It will give the comptroller the power to monitor the bill’s compliance.

The bill defines a living wage as $10 an hour plus benefits.

On hand today, Palma said the bill, which is sure to divide the council and the adminsitration, would get its fair hearing.

“We are creating a workforce lifted out of poverty to self sufficiency,” said Palma today at City Hall. Palma said she hasn’t received a commitment from Council Speaker Christine Quinn that the bill will get a hearing.

But, she added, “I think it will get its due process.”
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 25, 2010, 3:13 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Land Use,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | No Comments »

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Issue Forums Scheduled
May 14th, 2010

To dig deep into the nitty-gritty of the City Charter, the Charter Revision Commission will host five issue forums on specific areas it plans to focus on.

They announced the schedule yesterday. Just a refresher, the topics are: term limits, voter participation, government structure, public integrity and land use. There will be one forum in every borough. First up, the ever-popular term limits issue, which will be at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

The full list is after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 14, 2010, 10:52 am
In category: Albany,City Hall,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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Budget Hearings Breakdown
May 13th, 2010

The City Council kicked off its executive budget hearings this morning, and over the next month there will be dozens more.

This schedule is subject to change, but here is how it’s laid out now.

Friday, May 14

Human Rights Commission, 10 a.m.
City University of New York, 10:30 a.m.
Education and School Construction Authority (Capital), 12 p.m.

Monday, May 17
Citywide Administrative Services, 10 a.m.
Board of Elections, 10:45 a.m.
Campaign Finance Board, 11:45 a.m.
Aging, 12:30 p.m.
Juvenile Justice, 2 p.m.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 13, 2010, 6:00 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance,Social Services,sustainability,Tech,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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