Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Proposed Resolution to oppose columbia university’s proposed 197-c rezoning action and academic mixed-use development plan

August 15, 2005 [Updated 17Aug07]

· Whereas
Manhattan Community Board 9 (CB9) has developed a integrative plan for Community District 9 under Section 197-a of the New York City Charter, including the Manhattanville area that is the subject of Columbia University’s (Columbia’s) proposed 197-c rezoning action and Academic Mixed-Use Development plan and;

· Whereas Columbia’s 197-c proposal is not consistent with the goals, objectives and recommendations set forth in CB9M’s 197-a Plan and;

· Whereas Columbia’s 197-c proposal will lead to the displacement of CB9’s low, moderate and middle-income African-American and Hispanic residents, resulting in significant and adverse impacts on the community, among other significant and adverse impacts and;

· Whereas
the viability of Columbia’s proposed 7-story continuous sub-grade construction is in serious question due to the risks of storm, seismic events, and other environmental threats;
· Whereas the majority of historic properties identified in CB9’s 197-a Plan are not afforded historic landmark protection under Columbia’s 197-c proposal and;

· Whereas the neighborhood’s dynamic, richly layered historic, ethnic and cultural character, that would be preserved under the 197-a Plan, would be eliminated under Columbia’s 197-c proposal and;

· Whereas CB9 is an environmental justice community due to the existing high level of environmental burdens in the area and;

· Whereas the questionable use of eminent domain; demolition of viable existing buildings; massive earth removal requiring over 98,000 trucks; displacement of low- and moderate-income residents, particularly people of color; development of two power plants and relocation of the bus terminal below grade in a NYC Office of Emergency Management evacuation zone; high density development at the equivalent of FAR 9 in an area where the context is FAR 6; disregard for flood and seismic conditions and hydrostatic pressure through the bedrock; and non-participatory planning all argue against Columbia’s proposed Academic Mixed-Use Development plan being socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and;

· Whereas Columbia has not entered into a respectful, good faith collaboration with the community in developing its proposals and evaluating an alternative development scenario under the 197-a Plan and;

· Whereas CB9 welcomes Columbia into the community as part of a sustainable mixed-use, mixed ownership development scenario that includes commercial, light manufacturing, academic and residential uses; is compatible with existing neighborhood character; avoids residential and business displacement; provides a diverse and wide range of employment opportunities for local residents; and promotes the development of affordable housing, as set forth in the 197-a Plan;

· Whereas a Public Hearing was conducted by Community Board 9 on August 15, 2007, to solicit public testimony on the Columbia proposed 197-c rezoning action and Academic Mixed-Use Development plan and;

· Whereas such public testimony did not support by an overwhelming margin Columbia’s proposed 197-c rezoning action and Academic Mixed-Use Development plan in its current form;

· Now therefore, be it resolved that the ULURP Committee of CB9 recommends (by a vote of 17-1-0) that Community Board 9 Manhattan vote to oppose Columbia’s proposed rezoning action and Academic Mixed-Use Development Plan unless Columbia agrees to:

1. Withdraw the proposal for eminent domain, cease to use the threat of eminent domain to intimidate owners to sell, and abandon the process of imposing gag orders on those that have entered into agreements to sell;

2. Withdraw the proposal to build the 7-story below grade structure and the request to build under city streets and convey the area below grade to the University;

3. Build only on property owned by the University and obtained through negotiations with the owners without coercion and without the threat of eminent domain;

4. Guarantee that all housing developed directly by Columbia as a result of the Proposed Actions would meet the inclusionary housing requirements of the 197-a Plan; and that, in all Columbia developed and owned housing, an equal amount of housing for the University and the community would be created both on-site and off-site; and that no direct displacement would occur in the 17- acre area;

5. Columbia must immediately develop and hereafter permanently implement and carry out an effective housing anti-displacement program; commit not by itself or through any affiliate to purchase or lease or net lease any residential units in CB9M above 125th Street; and provide sufficient additional housing in areas outside CB9M to house all of the students and employees expected to use the proposed campus. And further not interfere with the transfer of 132 units from HPD to the residents of those units as previously agreed to by the City;

6. Pursue State and National Registers listing of any of its properties within the proposed Academic Mixed-Use Development Area found “eligible” by New York’s State Historic Preservation Office and not oppose LPC landmark designation of any site herein. Also preserve buildings of historic and cultural character throughout the proposed Special Manhattanville Mixed-Use Zoning District and in CB9 as a whole, as listed in the 197-a Plan;

7. Not build pollution emitting power sources - such as power plants and co-generation facilities - or research facilities and labs above bio-safety level 2, or other noxious installations that would contribute to the already high environmental burdens of this community;

8. Engage in sustainable design and construction practices with the equivalent of a LEED standard of platinum prior to the commencement of construction;

9. Engage in good faith negotiations with CB9 to achieve a mutually beneficial land use compromise that would permit the construction of academic facilities needed by Columbia on properties owned by the University, through technical amendments to the 197-a Plan, in a manner that is consistent with the underlying principles and goals of the 197-a Plan and;

10. Otherwise meet the goals and objectives outlined in the 197-a Plan including, but not limited to, mitigating all direct and indirect adverse impacts with respect to job creation for local residents, economic development, socio-economic conditions, environmental protection and sustainable development, public transit, neighborhood character, public open space and other impact areas, as delineated by CB

PUBLIC HEARING August 15th 2007
ULURP Committee Membership - 20
Members Present - 18
Vote: Yes .........No......... Abstain........... Present Not Entitled
..........17............ 1............... 0................................ 0

Referred to Special General Board Meeting August 20th, 2007 at 6:30 PM
CB9M Special General Board Meeting - Community Board Vote on Both CB9M 197-a and Columbia 197-c Plans. Also vote on resolution in Support of Manhattan Borough President's West Harlem Special District 197-c Plan.

Meeting to be held at the Manhattanville Community Center, 530 West 133rd Street

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