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New York City Council STATED MEETING - October 13, 2004

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Oct 13, 2004
New York City Council Stated Meeting Report

Every two weeks the New York City Council meets for its Stated Meeting to introduce and pass legislation. As a regular feature, Searchlight covers these meetings and posts a summary of the bills passed.

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STATED MEETING - October 13, 2004

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Quote of the Day:
"Lets face it, there hasn't been an investment of this size in Red Hook since World War II. Though the property was on the market for years, no one ever stepped forward with this kind of financial commitment for that site until IKEA put their proposal - and their money - on the table." - Brooklyn Councilmember Sarah Gonzalez, voting in favor of a new IKEA store in Red Hook.

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Meeting Summary:
On October 13, the New York City Council approved the construction of a 346,000 square foot IKEA store in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The giant Swedish furniture store - which expects 3 million shoppers a year - will also build a parking lot, three additional structures for other stores or restaurants, and a 6.3-acre public esplanade along the waterfront.

The proposal has divided many area residents. Supporters say people in the area - about 75 percent of whom live in public housing - need jobs; opponents fear the store will bring traffic, noise, and pollution. (Read more about the controversy.)

To address community concerns, IKEA said neighborhood residents would be able to submit early applications for the 600 jobs it promises to create. The company also agreed to pay for free weekend ferry service to the store from Manhattan and shuttle bus service from nearby subway stations. The city also has plans to extend the B-61 bus to the store.

The plan already had the approval of the city's Department of City Planning and the City Council land use committee. Councilmember Sarah Gonzalez, who represents the area and has been a strong supporter of the plan, urged her colleagues to vote in favor of it.

"After nearly two years of work, IKEA have really proven themselves to be responsive and sincere," said Gonzalez.

The council approved the plan by a vote of 50 to 1. East New York Councilmember Charles Barron voted "no."

The plan still needs federal approval and construction could begin by the end of the year.

The council also passed a bill (Intro 207-A) that would require every public and private school with 200 or more students to have a nurse. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to veto the bill, arguing that nurses can be rotated through smaller school. In September, the mayor also allocated an additional $8 million to increase the number of school nurses. The council says the mayor is not doing enough and has the votes to override the veto.

The next Stated Meeting is scheduled for October 27.

For an archive of past meetings and council votes, visit Gotham Gazette's Searchlight.


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