Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anti-Expansion Group Says Council Vote on M'ville Rezoning Will Occur on Wednesday

Anti-Expansion Group Says Council Vote on M'ville Rezoning Will Occur on Wednesday
By Betsy Morais

An anti-expansion activist group released a statement on Monday saying that the City Council vote on the Columbia’s rezoning plan for Manhattanville has been scheduled for Wednesday.

The Coalition to Preserve Community sent out the statement in an e-mail on Monday saying that the vote has been set and urging people to attend a protest beforehand. The Council vote, which will be the final step of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, was expected to take place in mid-January. It will determine whether or not the University can move forward with its plans to build a campus in Manhattanville.

According to CPC leader and longtime neighborhood activist Tom DeMott, CC ’80, the three City Council subcommittees—Zoning & Franchises, Planning, Dispositions, & Concessions, and Land Use—will vote on Columbia’s 197-c expansion plan in their meetings Wednesday morning, followed by a full Council vote at 1:30 pm.

The City Council website had not posted any information about the vote and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) could not be reached for comment late Monday night.

Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs LaVerna Fountain said she had heard a similar rumor on Monday afternoon, but could not confirm or deny the alleged vote date. Despite what would be a surprisingly early vote by City Council, Fountain said, “We’ll be ready to do whatever is asked of us.”

According to DeMott, Zoning & Franchises subcommittee chair Tony Avella, D-Queens, had a meeting scheduled for Monday morning that Quinn postponed until Wednesday. Avella then indicated that the Council would hold its ULURP vote that afternoon, DeMott said.

Avella has expressed support for the Coalition to Preserve Community at numerous rallies and has spoken out against development saying, “We need a city that protects its citizens and doesn’t cave into developers." Avella could not be reached for comment late Monday night.

Many experts, including Manhattan Institute’s Center for Rethinking Development Deputy Director Hope Cohen, have predicted that the Council will vote strongly in favor of Columbia’s plan.

The CPC e-mail did not say whether there will be a Council vote on Community Board 9’s 197-a plan, a framework for future growth in the area that has concurrently been going through ULURP and conflicts with the 197-c on many accounts regarding affordable housing, building heights, and methods of expansion.

Last month, the City Planning Commission voted in favor of the University’s 197-c as well as CB9’s 197-a, though both approved versions were modified. CB9 chair Jordi Reyes-Montblanc and other local activists criticized the changes as favoring the 197-c and insufficiently reconciling discrepancies between the two plans.

View Comments ( 4)Post a Comment

Glad to see Columbia-paid Bill Lynch and Associates are earning their wages trashing community members.
Posted by: anonymous (not verified) December 18th, 2007 @ 10:34am

And I'm glad to see that you are blindly jumping to conclusions about who is posting the comments. I am a "community member" who lives in the West 130s, does not earn a penny from anyone related to this project, and still think Tom DeMott needs to get a life. Stop trying to make it seem that anyone who thinks the expansion is a good idea is somehow related to a consulting firm. There are plenty of people in the community who think the expansion is a great thing for the area.
Posted by: anonymous (not verified) December 18th, 2007 @ 11:03am

Tom DeMott is the one that really needs to get a life. He seems to spend every waking moment fighting everything that Columbia does.
Posted by: anonymous (not verified) December 18th, 2007 @ 9:57am

If only these "anti-expansion activist[s]" had jobs. Then not only would they have no time to protest, but they might just have nothing to protest about.
Posted by: anonymous238 December 18th, 2007 @ 9:36am

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