Thursday, May 31, 2007

Crain's....Columbia expansion plowing ahead

"Anne Z. Whitman" wrote:
Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 13:25:53 -0700 (PDT)From: "Anne Z. Whitman" Subject: Fwd:
To: Jordi Reyes Montblanc

Timing of this is an outrage.

Anne Z. Whitman, President
Hudson North American

Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 16:11:59 -0400
From: "Zuhusky, Katherine"
To: "Anne Z. Whitman"

This in today's Crain's....

Columbia expansion plowing ahead
By: Anne Michaud
Published: May 31, 2007 - 3:06 pm

Columbia University's 17-acre expansion into West Harlem will enter intothe city review process on Monday, following three years of delay andcontroversy.

The review, which takes seven months, would rezone several city blocksnear the Hudson River to create a satellite campus for the university.Science labs, an arts building and a business school are planned.

Charges that the university is mishandling community relations havedogged the project -- sometimes triggering student protests -- and localleaders are objecting to the timing, which means that public hearingswill be scheduled during the summer vacation months.

"It is the opinion of the West Harlem Local Development Corp. that asummer certification date for this proposal, which has been under reviewat the Department of City Planning for years, will offend the essence ofthe [land-use review] process which is designed to seek communitycomment and involvement," wrote Patricia Jones, president of the LDC, ina letter to City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.

Ms. Jones' group is responsible for negotiating a package of communitybenefits with the university to offset any local hardship. Tensionsurrounds the prospect that Columbia will ask state officials to takethe land of unwilling sellers by eminent domain.

The university's rezoning application and environmental impact statementare in final review today by the Department of City Planning, aspokeswoman said. Planners expect to present it Monday to the CityPlanning Commission for certification, launching the review processknown as Ulurp.

City planners say the public will have plenty of time to offer input.

"The Ulurp process extends for seven months and will allow manyopportunities along the way for public comment," says Rachaele Raynoff,department spokeswoman.A representative of Columbia University said there is probably never agood time to start the process.

"We understand the challenges," said a spokeswoman. "This has been along time coming, and we are simply ready and willing to keep workingwith everyone."

No comments: