WHEREAS New York University has failed to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with this community regarding its plans to build a 26-story student dormitory on East 12th Street; and
WHEREAS this Community Board has previously expressed its strong opposition to the height and bulk of the proposed building; and
WHEREAS NYU has completely failed to adopt any of the recommendations made by community groups, CB3 and community residents and continues to rigidly adhere to its original building plans in the face of intense community opposition; and
WHEREAS NYU’s actions appear to be part of NYU’s continuing expansion, wherein the interests and needs of this community are sacrificed so that NYU may continue its unabated growth; and
WHEREAS NYU has responded to community opposition to its plans, in part, by personally attacking the character and integrity of the executive director of a neighborhood preservation group, who is held in high esteem by this Board and Community; and
WHEREAS it is self-evident that NYU is an important part of our city and community, but that NYU must greatly improve its efforts to be both a good neighbor and a partner with our community;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. The Community Board hereby expresses its extreme outrage over NYU’s actions;
2. CB3 urges NYU to amend its plans for the 12th Street dormitory so as to address community concerns regarding the building’s height, bulk and architectural design and to ensure that the building meets recognized national standard for a “green building”;
3. CB3 decries NYU’s personal attack on the character and integrity of a leader of a local neighborhood preservation group as completely untrue and unwarranted and urges NYU to remove any public material repeating such attacks and further refrain from such actions in the future;
4. CB3 urges NYU to initiate a discussion about expanding into other communities and reexamine its apparent decision to constrict its campus to our community;
5. CB3 urges NYU to truly “give back” to our community by adopting the following practices: committing to hiring community residents; maintaining and expanding open green spaces; maintaining affordable housing, especially in light of its representation about having 20% low income housing in its properties; to enter into restrictive covenants on its properties, so that should NYU sell its properties, they can only be sold to entities committing to provide low and moderate income housing;
6. CB3 asks NYU to provide a written statement detailing NYU’s position on this Board’s 197-A rezoning plan, including its potential application to Third and Fourth Avenues;
7. We urge NYU President John Sexton to appear at a community board forum so he can actually see and, hopefully feel for himself, the extent of the deep community frustration caused by NYU’s repeated refusals to cooperatively engage the community and begin a dialogue aimed at repairing the relationship between NYU and this Community; and
8. Should NYU fail to address these issues in a substantive fashion, within 30 days of NYU’s receipt of this motion, CB3 shall rightfully assume that NYU does not wish to engage in a meaningful discussion with our community and that NYU’s commitment to this community must be seriously questioned.
On Tuesday night, Community Board #3 unanimously passed a resolution roundly rebuking NYU for its failure to maintain its commitments to the public and moving ahead with a 262 ft. tall mega-dorm on East 12th Street. The strongly worded resolution said that NYU “failed to engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with this community…[and] completely failed to adopt any of the recommendations made by community groups.” The Board went on to express what it called its “extreme outrage over NYU’s actions” and called upon the University to, among other things, change its plans for the development and to finally offer a public position regarding the effort to rezone the Third Avenue corridor and blocks to the west in order to prevent further similar inappropriate development (this is the only part of the East Village the City is refusing to rezone, seemingly protecting NYU’s interest in further developing these blocks).
GVSHP and community groups had attended the Community Board hearing and urged adoption of such a resolution. In August, GVSHP, community groups, and State Senator Tom Duane and City Council Member Rosie Mendez held a protest condemning NYU for many of the same reasons (CLICK HERE for press release).