This morning, we delivered the following testimony to the City Planning Commission, at the hearing where they were considering Manhattan CB6’s 197-a Plan alongside East River Realty (the property owner/developer)’s plan for the site:
The Community-Based Planning Task force is a broad and diverse coalition of community boards, community-based organizations, academics, environmental justice advocates, architects, and elected officials, who are working to secure a more meaningful role for New Yorkers in the city’s land use process, and to establish community-based planning as official New York City policy.
The Task Force urges the Administration to support consensus-driven, comprehensive planning, which sets forth goals and growth targets, and can be used as a blueprint for the development of local plans. The city is growing and neighborhoods need development, but effective planning has to be a partnership between the city and local residents. Otherwise, development will continue to be plagued by costly delays, neighborhood growth will not be sustainable, and land use decisions will continue to be made in the court system, as opposed to within the public review process.
Manhattan Community Board 6 has developed a comprehensive planning framework in accordance with stated citywide goals; provides a framework for the development of specific sites; outlines an overall vision and is an extension of the Comprehensive Manhattan Waterfront 197-a Plan. The board’s 197-c plan sets out a detailed rezoning for the site that is in line with its 197-a framework. Action of CB6’s 197-a and 197-c has been held in the ULURP pipeline until the developer had a chance to catch up– this delay is antithetical to effective planning; this delay ignores CB6’s 197-c action; and this delay sends a message that the city prioritizes developer-driven development over community-based planning.
Community Board 6 obviously supports development in the district, and is willing to play its part in the future growth of the city, accepting the goals that the Mayor has laid out in PlaNYC 2030. CB6’s commitment to consensus-driven planning must be matched by the city’s commitment. We need to go beyond adopting the 197-a plan and advance to the point of taking its recommendations seriously and implementing it.