Gotham Gazette

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New York City Council STATED MEETING - August 12, 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.

STATED MEETING - August 12, 2004

Quote of the Day:
"In a few minutes, [the Staten Island council members] will cast the best vote of our careers, perhaps the most important vote, and certainly the vote that is going to have the greatest impact on our communities.... The one local issue that unifies this council is the issue of overdevelopment" - Staten Island Councilmember James Oddo.

Meeting Summary:
The New York City Council dedicated most of its agenda on August 12 to landuse measures that will remake neighborhoods in Staten Island, Long Island City, and lower Manhattan.

For Staten Island, the council approved a series of actions that it promises will put an end to developers tearing down one- and two-family homes and replacing them with massive apartment buildings. The measures create specials zones in which the density of housing is limited.

The action was a result of a task force appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to address issues of overdevelopment. And other City Council members hope that similar measures can be put in place for neighborhoods across the city.

"We are a city of 8 million people with one set of zoning rules," said Staten Island Councilmember Michael McMahon, "and what is applicable in one very urban part is not applicable to residential areas."

The council also approved a rezoning of the Hunter's Points section of Long Island City, Queens, which will allow for more commercial and residential development in what is predominantly a manufacturing area. Queens Councilmember Eric Gioia said that it will help the city retain companies who may be tempted to move out to New Jersey by offering them new, less expensive places to build.

However, not everyone agreed it was a good plan. Brooklyn City Councilmember David Yassky voted against the Long Island City rezoning arguing that as many as 2,000 people could lose their jobs and that the city must make a commitment to ensure that some of the new housing is affordable.

The council also approved a landuse item that will make way for Goldman Sachs to build a new 800-foot tall world headquarters in Battery Park City, arguing that would help assure that lower Manhattan remains a hub for the international finance industry.

In addition, the City Council passed one new bill (Intro 313-A), which will require city agencies to record and report information about workplace injuries. The city spends $140 million a year on workplace injuries, according to the council, and the legislation will help compile information to help prevent future accidents and illnesses.

The next Stated Meeting is scheduled for September 9, 2004.

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


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