Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sending testimony to City Planning; CPC's letter supporting 197A

Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2007 01:10:27 EDT
Subject: 1Send in testimony to City Planning & CPC's letter supporting 197A
To: Reysmont@

To Coalition to Preserve Community members and others interested: 10/10/07

(1) City Planning Commission testimony must be received by Friday,
10/12/07 (and comments on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be in by next
Monday, 10/15/07).

(2) See the Coalition to Preserve Community letter below which can be used as a sample for testimony. We have a more generic letter which we can send in a Word document if you email us for it.


We urge everyone to send in testimony to the City Planning Commission.

Here are the details:
Written testimony can be submitted to City Planning by mail but must
arrive on or before October 12. All written testimony must be include
17 copies of what is submitted, but if you can do less, submit them anyway.

You can deliver your testimony to the address below, and if you can't do that,
the Coalition to Preserve Community will bring it down for you on Friday,
Oct. 12. Just contact us. THERE IS NO EMAIL RESPONSE OPTION.

Here is a phone number and fax for the Calendar Officer at City Planning:
212 720 3370 fax 212 720 3356

The address is:
City Planning Commission
Calendar Information Office
22 Reade Street -- Room 2E
New York, New York 10007-1216


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


City Planning Commission--Calendar Information Office
22 Reade Street, Room 2E
New York, NY 10007-1216
October 10, 2007

Dear Commissioners,

We are writing to urge you to vote against the Columbia University
197-c and to support the Community Board 9 197-a. The 197-a
represents good planning for our community and Columbia's plan does not.

We do not want Eminent Domain used or any forced removal of residents,
tenants or businesses. No clear public purpose has been shown here and
Eminent Domain historically abuses communities of color and low and
moderate income people.

The Columbia plan does not include mandatory affordable housing and
removes 132 units from the community and promises to displace 5,000
more residents over the build-out according to Columbia's own very
conservative estimation in its EIS. CB9 has limited opportunity for
building affordable housing because of lack of sites.

All developers building residential buildings must include 50% affordable
housing which reflect needs based on the current income levels of CB 9
residents, and all current affordable housing stock must be kept,
including those regulated units Columbia removes when they push out
longtime protected residents in buildingss it owns now or purchases,
those in NYCHA buildings, those still protected by regulations in the
surrounding area, those in 3333 Broadway, and those who are hanging on
in HDFCs and in TIL programs.

There are tenants who have been living in the neighborhood for literally
50 years right in the expansion site area, and they are being pushed by
Columbia to leave. Using some other catch phrase other than eminent domain,
as Columbia recently did in a press release, does not deal with the bottom
line that an eviction under any other name is still an eviction.

There can be a shared community here. The businesses can and should
stay. The residents can and should stay. The artists, the mechanics,
the furniture makers and restorers should stay too. The great ideas of
the current owners should be developed right alongside Columbia in a
mixed neighborhood. But Columbia is all about making us an offer we
can't refuse and using its fancy lobbying campaign, even a phony
"ecommunity coalition" of drug rehab folks as exposed last month in the
New York Post, to spin this eviction plan another way.

That is what is going on here. The projections of Dr. Mindy Fullilove
of Columbia on the inevitable root shock devastation our community will
experience if this expansion is allowed without dramatic changes called
for by the 197A, will be the legacy of every city planner involved in
okaying this truly ill-conceived plan.

The Columbia plan will not produce jobs for our community and the 197-a
plan will.

Columbia's plan will produce high tech jobs for faculty and scientific support staff, but no jobs for the community except at the lowest pay.

The Community 197-a plan maintains manufacturing zoning so that community
members can have jobs that historically pay more than the retail and service
jobs Columbia's plan might offer. Well-paying construction jobs do not go to
members of the community, few of whom are part of the skilled trades unions.

Columbia's proposed bathtub and biohazard level 3 labs should not be
constructed in a densely populated neighborhood in a seismically active
floodplain. Columbia's proposed co-generation plants, underground MTA
terminal, and huge bathtub will be subject to flooding and storm
surges and will require massive earth removal, the shutting off of
sewers and electricity, and the closing of streets for many years. It
will add to the environmental injustice already in the community.

If it cannot be built (because of cost or geology) it will have been used
as an excuse to throw residents, workers, and businesses out of their
locations so that Columbia can control all the property.

More and more information is surfacing which justifies our long-standing
argument that the Columbia plan is a land grab, that it is dependent on
Defense Department funding for biotech research, and that this is much
more about a business park than a city on a hill academic project.

In addition, access to the waterfront park will be limited for many
years. The public space at the project center (which is required by law)
will be used as a university amenity, not a community resource. We
will lose all but three of our historic buildings -- preservation in
West Harlem is being ignored. And most important, one of the most
diverse and lively communities in New York City, and its future, will
be destroyed.

We stand by the residents and business owners who are facing eminent
domain. We stand by those in the immediate neighborhood who are facing
secondary displacement. We stand by the Columbia students who have
raised many questions about the future vision of their institution and
its relationship to the community.

We stand by all New Yorkers who are concerned about bio-level three labs
in a densely populated area -- those risks must be assessed in the same way
that these issues of risk and terror targeting have been raised in
Brooklyn and elsewhere in the United States.

There are huge issues here -- many we have not raised in this brief letter but
which you have received from our coalition over the past three plus years.

Finally, we support the Community Board 9 vote against the Columbia C plan
32 to 2) with its ten conditions, and want to clearly state that Borough
President's Scott Stringer's decision not to back the board and to cut
some ULURP process deal with Columbia should be seen for what it is -- a
completely unrepresentative and undemocratic decision undermining the
community and the West Harlem Local Development Corp -- and one that
must be nullified, ignored, and dismissed. Thank you.


Tom DeMott ................... Nellie Bailey ..................... Luis Tejada

For the Coalition to Preserve Community Steering Committee

go to
or go to the Columbia student SCEG website:


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