NYU Update: City Planning Commission Vote Expected June 6, City Council Hearings to Follow
have some important updates regarding the public review and approval process for NYU’s massive proposed Village expansion plan. NYU is seeking to overturn neighborhood zoning protections, gut open-space preservation requirements, take over public land, and undo urban renewal deed restrictions in order to build 2.5 million sq. ft. of space – the equivalent of the Empire State Building – on the blocks south of Washington Square. All of NYU’s proposed development is prohibited under current laws and zoning, but will be made possible if approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council. In April, Borough President Stringer approved the NYU plan (read more HERE), but his vote is only advisory.
On April 25th, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on the NYU plan at which hundreds of opponents called upon the Commission to vote it down. GVSHP submitted several reports undermining the very bases of NYU’s claims for the need for their Village expansion (read GVSHP’s testimony and the reports HERE).
Hundreds turned out at the City Planning Commission hearing in opposition to the NYU expansion plan
Following the hearing, the public had until May 7th to submit comments on NYU’s proposal and its environmental impacts. Read the submission made on behalf of GVSHP and NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan by the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher outlining the fatal flaws in NYU’s plan, its environmental analysis, and the supposed concessions and modifications to the plan agreed to with Borough President Stringer HERE. Please also read the brilliant submission made by the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development on behalf of LaGuardia Corner Gardens and Lower Manhattan Neighbors’ Organization, showing how NYU has misrepresented and tried to hide the devastating impact their plan would have on open space HERE.
On June 6th, the City Planning Commission will vote on the NYU plan. The Commission will consider whether or not to accept any of the minor modifications to the NYU plan recommended by Borough President Stringer, whether to make any of their own, and whether or not to approve the plan. Yesterday, the Commission met to discuss the NYU plan in a meeting at which no public comment was allowed. Based upon the Commissioner’s comments at the public hearing and yesterday’s meeting, it appears they may not accept all of the Borough President’s proposed minor modifications. Since the majority of the Commission’s members are appointed by the Mayor, and the Mayor has stated his unequivocal support for the NYU plan, the Commission is considered likely to approve the plan.
However, the plan cannot move ahead unless approved by the City Council. The City Council is required by law to hold a public hearing on the plan before voting, and that hearing will be scheduled for some time after the Commission votes on June 6th. GVSHP and NYU Faculty and Graduate Workers had urged City Planning, the Borough President, and Council Speaker Quinn and Councilmember Chin NOT to time the Council’s hearings for late June or July, as that would inhibit the public’s ability to participate in the hearings (read the letter HERE). Unfortunately, however, that now appears likely to happen. GVSHP will notify you when the hearing date has been set.
GVSHP is continuing to work closely with NYU faculty, students, and staff and with neighborhood groups who are opposing NYU’s massive Village expansion proposal, to call for city officials to vote no and reject the plan.
HOW TO HELP:
Find out more about the NYU plan and efforts to fight it HERE. Support the effort by making a donation to GVSHP HERE.