Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chelsea Market ULURP Lip Service - We've Heard This Before

Whatever ULURP Wants, ULURP Gets

Lesley Doyel, a co-president of the community group Save Chelsea, published an editorial in the local newspaper of Chelsea, Jamestown Now :

Ms. Doyel was critical of the Uniform Land [Use] Review Process (ULURP), which is rigged in favour of zone-busting real estate developers. Here is an excerpt of her editorial about how Jamestown Properties used its ULURP application to upzone Chelsea Market :

... The ULURP process begins once City Planning certifies a proposal. ... As we now so clearly see, certification should happen at the end, rather than at the beginning of ULURP, so that the community can play a true and important role in the review process. As it now stands, the public voice is little more than lip service.

Yet, throughout ULURP, the public came out in good faith over and over again, to jump through the endless hoops required by the process, putting forth well-researched, reasoned arguments against Jamestown’s proposal. Hundreds of letters and postcards, thousands of petitions (not to mention the sheer number of people represented by all of the many groups that had joined in opposition) could not, as in the cases of both St. Vincent’s and NYU, prevail against the pre-determined approval that waited in the wings.

In the end, the steamroller that is ULURP buried the community’s very real concerns and protests under the gooey asphalt of compromise — expecting us to believe that this was all done in the public interest, and for the public good.

We know it was not. And, if nothing else, the City Council, and our own Council Representative, need to know and understand this. ...

Chelsea Market Should Not Have Been Upzoned

Separately, Andrew Berman wrote a separate editorial, which was also published in Jamestown Now :

... The Council voted to approve this deal with only one member, Zoning Subcommittee Chair David Weprin, staying for and listening to all the public testimony against the project. On the whole, the deal to upzone Chelsea Market will add to traffic and congestion, increase overdevelopment, diminish a beloved local landmark, and reinforce the view of a public review and approval system as one which denies the public a real voice.

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