Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CB9M Housing, Land Use & Zoning Committee Meeting of March 21st, 2006


Housing, Land Use and Zoning Committee
Meeting of March 21, 2006


Co-Chaired by: J. Reyes-Montblanc and Yvonne Stennett

Quorum being present Meeting was called to order at 6:35pm.
Public present in excess of hundred concerned community residents.

1. Columbia University made third presentation to the Board on their intentions to ask for variances on the new science building to be designed by famous Spanish architect Rafael Moneo to be erected where the gym building is now at Broadway and 120th Street. Columbia officials indicated that the sciency building would concentrate in genometic chemical-biological research and chemical-physics research in nano-technology.

2. HPD presented two buildings for a UDAP application to transfer the buildings to Ecumenical Community Development Organization. The two buildings, formerly approved by the Board to enter the Tenant Interim Lease Program for eventual conversion to HDFC cooperatives were pulled out of the TIL Program by HPD without consultations with the Board, therefore the application was rejected and recommendations will go to the Borough President and the City Council to deny the transfer at this time.

3. 640-646 Riverside Drive, third party transfer building to the partnership of Settlement House and Urban Homesteaders Assistance Board made a request for the Board to intervene on behalf of the tenants as they feel left out of the process and that the commitments made by SH/UHAB to the BOard when it approved the transfer have not been fulfilled. The Committee will summon HPD, SH/UHAB and the tenants to the April meeting of the Committee for a fact finding session.

4. Pinnacle's owner Joel Wiener appeared before the Board to try to dispel the allegations of misdeeds being hurled against Pinnacle and himself by a coalition of tenants from over 30 buildings owned by Pinnacle and community pro-tenant activist. The dialogue at times ascerbic lasted approximately 2 hours with translations into Spanish either by audience members or the Chair.

Although many emotional tenant allegations of wrong doing were made and Mr Wiener's emotional replies in defense of his business practices the Committee was not presented with any factually documented proof of wrong doing, therefore the Committee has resolved by unanimous vote, to call for a Public Hearing where all the Upper Manhattan Community Boards will be asked to participate to elicit testimony to develop factual documentation regarding Pinnacle's practices within our Districts, the pertinent NYC Council Members, Public Advocate, Attorney General and Borough President will be asked to co-sponsor the Public Hearing and whatever results are documented will be turned over to NYC Council, the Public Advocate and the Attorney General for further action.

5. Christina Lee reported on the progress of the clean up of the oil spill at 72 Hamilton Place and of the possiblity of impending action by City agencies.

6. No further business being before the Committee the meeting was adjopurned at 9:35pm. Attendance attached

Committee Resolution:

Whereas, many tenants of residential rental buildings owned by Pinncle/Joel Wiener within Community District 9 have expressed great concern and disastisfaction with Pinnacle�s landlord practices, and

Whereas, Pinnacle has acquired residential rental properties throughout Upper Manhattan including Community Districts 7, 9, 10 11, 12, and

Whereas, at the CB9M Housing, Land Use & Zoning Committee regular meeting held March 21st 2006 over 100 residents of Pinnacle buildings and tenant rights activists appeared before the Committee to express their concerns and disatisfaction with Pinnacle, and

Whereas, Joel Wiener, Pinnacle�s owner appeared before the Committee to present his side of the dispute and expressed his won concerns and disastisfaction with the allegations made against his company practices and stated that all his practices and actions are within the laws of New York City, and

Whereas, there is a need to address this issue which involves residents of the 5 Upper Manhattan Community District Boards,

Therefore, the CB9M Housing Land Use & Zoning Committee by unanimous agreement of the members believes that a Public Hearing jointly with the other Upper Manhattan Boards will help clarify and document the facts,

Hereby Resolves: �To bring together at a Public Hearing, Community Boards, #�s 7,9,10,11 and 12, the elected officials, the Attorney General, residents of the Pinnacle buildings and the greater community and the grassroots organizations, for the purpose of providing a venue for the sharing and documenting of information and linking of the resources, to determine the pertinent facts in respect to the practices and conditions of the buildings owned and managed by the Pinnacle Company.

Further Resolves, to request to the area City Council Members to also convene a hearing at the City Council to be conducted with the Public Advocates Office, on the activities and operation of the Pinnacle Company.�

Resolution Passed Unanimously.
Yes No Abst. PNETV
Vote: Committee Members 5 0 0 0
Board Members 4 0 0 0
Public Members 3 0 0 0

Respectfully Submitted by: J. Reyes-Montblanc, Co-Chair Housing, Land Use & Zoning.

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