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Environmental Assessment and Review
Department of City Planning
22 Reade Street, Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10007
Re: Scope of Draft Environmental Impact Statement for NYU Core ULURP, CEQR No. 11DCP121M
Dear Mr. Dobruskin:
I write to urge that revisions be made to the scope of work for draft Environmental Impact Statement for NYU’s project. This proposal, if implemented, would have a tremendous impact upon the Village, and I believe that the NYU’s draft review fails to adequately cover many important areas. These include:
The EIS should measure the impact of any and all developments which could result from the rezoning NYU is requesting, not simply the developments they now say they will construct if the rezoning is approved.
The EIS should examine, as an alternative to NYU building more academic space in the area, better utilizing the space which they currently have. Much of NYU’s academic space goes unused on Fridays. Thus by simply making use of the space on Friday, they could increase their effective available space by up to 25%.
The EIS should examine, as an alternative to NYU building more faculty housing in the area, better utilizing the faculty housing in the proposed rezoning area which they already have. NYU has been warehousing apartments in Washington Square Village and Silver Towers, and over the years has decreased the number of apartments in these complexes by combining more and more existing units into a smaller and smaller number of larger and larger units. Reversing or even ending these practices would significantly diminish the university’s purported need for additional faculty housing.
The EIS should measure the impact that the proposed rezonings would have on surrounding historic resources, including the proposed South Village Historic District, the NoHo and SoHo Historic Districts, and the State and National Register-eligible NoHo Historic District Extension. That should include shadows which the new developments would cast upon them, blocked views of them, increased development pressure upon them, and the risk of physical damage to them by years of vibration from demolition, digging, and construction.
The EIS should measure the impact of the proposed rezoning and developments on the immediate historic resources of Silver Towers/University Village and Washington Square Village and their open space. That should include compromised views of these structures, and shadows cast upon the little remaining open space.
The EIS should study the impact upon neighborhood character, as the planned developments would undeniably irreversibly alter neighborhood character. It would do so by so drastically altering the balance of institutional uses, and uses connected to a single institution, in what is an otherwise currently diverse and multi-faceted community.
The EIS should study alternatives which include zoning changes allowing development on some but not all of the proposed sites, and at densities lower than that which NYU has proposed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
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