Monday, January 31, 2005


Subject: Coaltion to Presrve Community:Batch 1, UPCOMING SCHEDULE, FEB, 05
Date: 1/30/2005 2:24:32 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: BFrappy24
To: BFrappy24



Upcoming meeting schedule for Feb. '05:
(1) Housing march and rally at City Hall, 4:30PM on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

(2) NOTE THAT THE CPC MEETING WILL BE ON Feb. 3, Thursday, 6:30PM. THIS IS THE confirmed date for the next Coalition to Preserve Community meeting, St. Mary's Church, 521 West. 126th st., 6:30PM. PLEASE COME OUT.

The community has been asking for answers to important questions from Columibia for many months. It is impossible to understand the implications of Columbia's zoning change requests without information which Columbia is consistently refusing to provide.

Please review the questions pasted in below and come to the meeting and let us know what you think - add on questions to the list, expand on those we have outlined below. (You can also send back any comments or suggestions you have.)

We expect that Columbia will soon try and present some compromise position on the 197A plan and its expansion without providing the real information that is needed for the community to make intelligent decisions about development.

It is important that we hear from everyone so we can wisely counteract this anticipated move by Columbia.

The flyer below with the questions we need answers for explains this process a little more. We will have various presentations at the meeting and discuss other action plans and your ideas are welcome.

COMMENT: In the Sunday NY Times today (Metro Section, first page) there is an article on eminent domain use in New London, Conneticut.

Dana Belinger, a lawyer for the Institute for Justice (a libertarian group which supports some very conservative causes at times) says the following about the use of eminent domain which her group is opposing: " It is usually an effort to go from lower to middle class, and from middle class to upper class. It is almost always an attempt to replace poorer people with richer people and middle income businesses with upscale businesses."

Of course in the West Harlem expansion, there is also a racial component. The vast majority of the residents who Columibia wants to remove are non-white, as are the vast amount of workers in the businesses Columbia wants to drive out.

The entire working class community of West Harlem is facing secondary displacement in terms of housing and the businesses that are affordable to the current residents. In addition, the fact that over a third of Columbia's expansion will be for a biotech center in a residential neighborhood makes the plan much more than a fight against eminent domain. Another difference between the New London battle is that this is New York and the greater community loves the diversity which West Harlem represents, from its historic people to its historic buildings.

We have a lot to defend. Come on out.

(3) Feb. 15 , Community Board 9 Housing committee meeting. CB 9, 565 W. 125th st. 6:30PM.

(4) Feb. 17, Community Board 9 Monthy membership meeting. CB 9, 565 W. 125th st. 6:30PM.

(5) Student forum on gentrification, 11:00 AM. all day Sunday, Feb. 27 at Columbia University and musical tribute to the community on Sunday, Feb. 27 at St. Mary's Church from 1:00PM to 7:00PM. More info on both to follow once it is emailed along from the organizers of both events.

(6) Feb. 28, Community Board 9 Task Force committee meeting. CB 9, 565 W. 125th st. Monday, Jan. 24, 6:30PM. (note, due to snowstorm, you might call CB 9 to confirm this meeting 212 864-6200)


United for an Open and Strong Community
POST OFFICE BOX 50 - Manhattanville Station
365 West 125th Street
NEW York City, New York 10027

The Coalition to Preserve Community requests that the following questions be answered by Columbia in writing and that this information not be delayed any longer. Many of these questions have been on the agenda of the Task Force for six months or more. Columbia must provide concrete responses at the next meeting.


(1) Define the financial benefits Columbia will receive from a zoning change?

What is the value of the property Columbia has in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets currently?

How much of a tax exemption does Columbia receive on that current property? What is the value of the property Columbia wants to purchase in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets?

How much of a tax exemption will Columbia receive on that property it wants for its plan?

What will be the value of the property in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets after Columbia completes the Full Build plan it has proposed?

What will be the tax exemption on the property in the expansion area from 125th to 133rd Streets after Columbia completes the "Full Build" plan it has proposed?

What Federal money does Columbia estimate it will receive and from what sources in terms of biotech, bio-defense, and general educational purposes funding as well as any Federal dollar cost benefits in the construction phases of the plan?

Provide the community with the tax revenue amount in current buildings in the expansion area paid by current businesses and land owners in terms of property and employment taxes.

(2) Gary Tarnoff advised the Task Force in August '04 that discussions were occurring with state agencies about the active nature of the expansion area.

Provide an update report on Columbia's "blight designation" discussions and whether there has been any applications filed regarding this issue?

Provide current leasing information about sublet rentals for each of the Columbia owned buildings in the expansion area - length of leases in place, a breakdown in terms of the length of leases offered by Columbia over the past ten years and what is being offered currently, as well as information on requests by tenants for both longer lease terms and/or their expressed intentions to improve their rental space.

Does Columbia have any alternative agreements with businesses (Dinosaur, for example) in properties it does not own in the expansion area to provide them space in the future in buildings it does own?

(3) Provide Task Force meeting attendees with basic process information on scoping, the EIS, and ULURP process which Columbia representatives promised to bring in Sept. '04.

(4) Does Columbia plan to use Eminent Domain to get property in the proposed expansion area?

(5) Provide an update on any discussions Columbia has had with HPD regarding any and all of the residential buildings in the expansion area?

Does Columbia have any agreement with HCCI about the newly renovated 601 West 132nd St. building relevant to the tenancies of the apartments and commercial space?

(6) Will the underground tunnel system being proposed to connect Columbia buildings have any commercial spaces or be used in any commercial way from vending machines on up?

The proposed expansion area has been estimated by Columbia to total anywhere from 5 to 7 million square feet of space.

Define what that space means in terms of floor space, block and lot space, air rights, etc.

(7) Columbia representatives have indicated that some of the construction on 125th Street will involve the "bathtub" approach similar to what was used as the foundation for the World Trade Center.

Explain how this would be implemented in the expansion area in terms of its proximity to the Hudson River?

What consideration has been given to the reasonably contemplated biotech hazards in terms of the presence of earthquake fault line on 125th Street as recently highlighted in a report on CNN?

Does the subway being above ground in the West 125th Street neighborhood play a role in the choice of the placement of a biotech center?

(8) Why has the alternative of placement of the biotech center in a research park, instead of a residential neighborhood, not been proposed?

What kinds of military defense projects will be researched in the biotech center?

What additional security measures are planned for this biotech center as opposed to the one on 168th Street?

(9) Columbia doctors stated that they are not paid by Columbia, that their salaries are paid by grants they receive from the Federal government (NIH grants).

How does Columbia hold these doctors accountable to the self-audit process currently being performed, some in #3 labs?

What kind of community review process does Columbia propose for monitoring its research center? Will there be community membership?

(10) Provide an update on discussions with the MTA about any and all properties it owns in the immediate expansion area and nearby.

(11) What is the breakdown of academic and commercial researchers at the Audubon Research Building (ARB) since it opened?

Have the available spaces allocated for commercial biomedical companies been regularly occupied?

Provide the tax revenue dollar amount from these companies since the ARB opened?

(12) It was estimated in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the ARB that 1627 of the 1965 new jobs would be created in the commercial and university labs. How many of those jobs went to local residents?

Provide a detailed account of the results of the job training program required in the ARB project.
(13) There was considerable uncertainty about the type of biotech companies which would be working out of the ARB and identifying the exact amount and nature of the hazardous materials being used.

What manufacturing operations have occurred at the ARB. Provide the community with a statistic analysis of the number of accidents that have occurred at Columbia Hospital or the Hammer Center and a breakdown of the categories of accidents and how they were dealt with.

The EIS listed three hazardous chemicals that will be used in high quantities - chloroform, petroleum distillates, and carbon tetrachloride.

What hazardous chemicals will be used at the expansion site?

The EIS for the ARB failed to state specifically if any agents requiring containment higher than BL2 will be prohibited.

Have biohazard agents higher than for BL2 been used at the ARB site?

(14) What impact will the expansion plan have on the water supply, sanitary sewage, solid waste disposal and increased energy demands on the infrastructure?

Explain the history of the red waste disposal procedure at the ARB and other lab waste. Is it possible that viruses "cooked" in sludge for three weeks before dumping may still harbor viruses?

1) In terms of the PRESERVATION of the affordable housing the remains in the CD9 area,

a) Will Columbia agree to cease all further conversion of community housing stock and keep rent regulated apartments on the market available to the general public with a rental policy that preserves the existing diversity, as called for in the 197A Plan?

b) Will Columbia publicly oppose any efforts to privatize public housing and the removal of subsidies from those who need them?

c) Will Columbia publicly oppose any efforts to Mitchell Llama housing and the removal of subsidies from those who need them and stand beside the efforts of tenants in 3333 Broadway to remain in their apartments at affordable rents?

2) In terms of the CREATION of affordable housing, will Columbia commit to providing affordable housing for long term local residents at income levels reflecting CD9’s current social make-up as an integral component of its development plans, as called for in the 197A?

3) In terms of sustainable economic development and job creation,

a) Will Columbia protect locally owned business currently in operation as well as promoting local ownership of new businesses?

b) In terms of new businesses, will they provide a living wage with a future for local residents?

c) Is Columbia prepared to provide or fund training programs and educational opportunities accountable to the community to address any disparities in skill levels that may prevent locals from obtaining the new jobs?

4) With respect to social services needed for the well being of CD9 residents, will new development include community facilities with space and resources for advocacy groups, supervised youth activities, centers for seniors, and health care delivery?

5) Will Columbia respect the historical and architectural integrity of existing structures and ensure that new structures are contextual to the size and bulk of surrounding ones?

6) Will Columbia guarantee no practices that are harmful to the environment or the health of CB9 residents and will Columbia establish procedures that ensure real community oversight and accountability for all activities carried out in any biotech facilities?

7) Will Columbia commit to including any of the above that are not specifically addressed in the 197A, in a Community Benefits Agreement?

For additional information contact: Coalition to Preserve Community (CPC), P O. BOX 50 Manhattanville Station, 365 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027. Call: 212-666-6426.

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