Saturday, April 22, 2006

CB9 Passes Resolution for Greene Building

Columbia Spectator

CB9 Passes Resolution for Greene Building
Board Deliberates Plans for Added Ninth Floor, Questions Phone Calls to South Africa
By Anna Phillips
Spectator Staff Writer

April 21, 2006

It was standing room only last night as Community Board 9�s newest members filled the seats at the general board meeting.

Of CB9�s 50 members, about 40 were present, along with a lineup of prominent city politicians. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer made an appearance, as did Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and councilman Robert Jackson (D-Washington Heights)

Before Stringer�s arrival, Marcello Velez, who manages the planning of off-campus projects for Columbia, announced the University�s plan to build a ninth floor in the Jerome Greene Law building. The building was constructed in the 1960s and was designed to have a ninth floor, but none was ever built.

�Even though we�re adding a floor, there will be no significant difference,� Velez said.

Columbia has submitted its plans to the City Planning Commission, but in order to expedite the process it needs CB9�s approval.

Stringer welcomed the new community board members and spoke about phase two of his plan to overhaul Manhattan�s community board system.

�We�re going to do real training on land use and zoning,� he said. �People are starting to understand that they have to participate in the ULURP process,� he added, referring to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

Part of his plan involves placing at least one urban planning graduate student on each Manhattan community board by September to deepen the knowledge pool.

Although the resolution concerning the Greene Building were eventually passed, the initial reaction was not generous.

Tom DeMott of the Coalition to Preserve Community suggested that Columbia take eminent domain off the table in exchange for the board�s approval, while CB9 member Walter South proposed a different plan.

�It�s really a shame you can�t tear [the Greene building] down,� he said.

In a similar vein, Tony Rogers, the City College advisor on urban policy, and architect Jill Lerner gave a presentation on the college�s proposed Mind, Brain and Behavior Center. The architectural design plans include two science buildings and a central �green space� joining them.

�We want to establish City College as the premier science institution in the community,� Lerner said. �These buildings will enable a lot of tie-ins to local schools,� she added.

The evening ended with a discussion of CB9�s latest economic predicament�a $3,891 phone bill that included calls to South Africa and California. Members voted to table the motion and left it for the next meeting.

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