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  #41  
Old Posted Nov 14, 2017, 9:48 PM
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https://citylimits.org/2017/11/14/ma...t-in-the-city/

Manhattan Parcel with Murky Origins Could Frame a Debate Over Parks and Development in the City




By Rick Stachura
11/14/17


Quote:
A project five years in the making gained widespread attention last month when it was portrayed as the latest chapter in the Bill de Blasio-Andrew Cuomo feud. Neither the mayor nor the governor, however, warrant the attention. They’re minor characters in a story that hinges on a complicated issue: Is the Marx Brothers Playground on 2nd Avenue between East 96th and 97th Streets a park or a playground?

On October 23, Cuomo and the State Legislature agreed to find out. In a memorandum, the Governor ordered Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to “investigate all of the property’s historical records, uses, and any other factor relevant to the land’s designation.” Consequently, before the City can commandeer the area for construction, it must wait for Harvey’s assessment.


Quote:
In September 2013, the Educational Construction Fund (ECF) selected AvalonBay Communities, Inc. to redevelop the site. The firm’s proposal survived the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) and secured the City Council’s approval in August 2017.

Under the plan, Park East High School, presently at 230 East 105th Street, and The Heritage School, now at 1680 Lexington Avenue, will be shuttered and combined into a new eight-story building along 1st Avenue. COOP Tech will be demolished and reborn as a nine-story structure along 2nd Avenue. It will share the same foundation as 20,000 square feet of retail space and a 63-story residential tower with over 1,000 rental units; 300 apartments will be income-targeted or “affordable.”

Meanwhile, the Marx Brothers Playground will be shifted to the center of the block.


Quote:
Of the 300 affordable apartments, 100 will be set aside for households making less than $34,360 for a family of three (40 percent of area median income, or AMI), while the other 200 will go to households earning from $51,540 to $85,900 for a family of three (60 to 100 percent of AMI).

During the project’s ULURP stage, local officials tried to get AvalonBay to tweak some of those numbers but failed. “The Area Median Income (AMI) does not go low enough for 37 perfect of residents who make $23,000 or less. We believe that the AMI and the affordability can go lower,” Manhattan Borough President Gail A. Brewer said at a meeting of the City Planning Commission (CPC) in May 2017.

In a letter addressed to the CPC In March 2017, Chair of East Harlem’s Community Board 11 Diane Collier wrote that the venture needed to “include more affordable housing units, with 50% of the units to be permanently affordable.” In 2016, the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan set an even higher and broader goal, urging that public sites be redeveloped with 100 percent income-targeted housing.


Quote:
Although he didn’t veto the bill when he finally received it from the Legislature on October 11th, Cuomo waited 12 days to apply his signature and attached a “chapter amendment”—the memorandum that deferred alienating the site until Commissioner Harvey completes her analysis. Explaining his action, the Governor scribed: “Classification as park or parkland should not provide zoning bonuses to private industry. Playgrounds [however] are a different classification and may be eligible for zoning incentives, and no state approval of alienation is necessary.”

.....Cuomo’s October 23rd memorandum merely places the inevitable on hold as Harvey’s future findings are not imbued with any force of law. She wasn’t even given a timetable to return them. Perhaps the pause will foster greater public awareness. Or maybe Cuomo’s missive will be heard as a wake-up call to officials about the overall role of parks—and playgrounds—in an increasingly dense city.


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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2018, 9:29 PM
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https://www.6sqft.com/battle-heats-u...er-is-planned/

Battle heats up over East Harlem park where a 760-foot tower is planned


JANUARY 2, 2018
BY DEVIN GANNON


Quote:
Located on Second Avenue between East 96th Street and East 97th Street, the Marx Brothers Playground boasts a jungle gym and ball fields spread out over 1.5 acres. The East Harlem green space, which first opened in 1947 on land formerly occupied by the car barn of the Second Avenue Railway, has found itself at the center of a debate between preservationists and developers. As the New York Times reported, park advocates and city officials disagree on whether the parcel is considered a park or a playground. If it’s a park, any plans to modify it require the approval from the State Legislature and the governor; playgrounds do not. While it seems irrelevant, the categorization of the land will determine whether a 68-story mixed-use tower will rise on its site, a project backed by city officials and affordable housing advocates.

As 6sqft previously covered, the New York City Educational Construction Fund and AvalonBay Communities hope to build a more than 1 million square foot mixed-use development at 321 East 96th Street. The project calls for two new school buildings for three different schools in the area, 20,000 square feet of retail space and the 760-foot residential tower which would offer up to 1,200 units with 300 of them affordable. The tower would be the tallest tower north of 60th Street. AvalonBay also plans to build a new playground at the center of the complex, although the current one would be closed during construction.

Last month, local groups and preservation associations filed a lawsuit to block the project. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to assign the commissioner of state parks, Rose Harvey, to investigate the site determine its legal status. Cuomo has previously expressed concerns that this project would set a dangerous precedent to let developers use space as state property instead of city property, letting them be exempt from the city’s zoning regulations. However, the governor has already signed a bill granting the developer permission to modify it, if no other legal challenges arise.

“Classification as a park or parkland should not provide zoning bonuses to private industry,” Cuomo wrote in a memo for the bill. “Confirming the status and nature of the land has significant legal implications for New York City and residents who want assurance that they will have access to outdoor recreation.”

Although the City Council, the local community board and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer approved the land-use proposal, open space advocates are not backing down.

Lynn Kelly, the executive director of New Yorkers for Parks, told the Times that adding both housing and educational infrastructure is critical, but the city should not have to choose between those spaces and open space. “To continue to minimize one over the other creates this impression to New Yorkers that parks and open space are an amenity as opposed to critical infrastructure, just like a school and just like affordable housing,” Kelly said.



https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/n...ight.html?_r=0

Park or Playground? Semantics Dispute Illuminates Preservationists’ Fight

By VIVIAN WANG
JAN. 1, 2018







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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2018, 8:49 PM
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Oh for God's sake-they are replacing the park/playground space, plus adding hundreds of affordable units! This is not about any "park"-it is all about NIMBY's smh.

Build it now!
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  #44  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2018, 11:12 PM
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And its not even a nice park either. If this was sacred ground where Lord Baby Jesus himself kissed the ground, I could understand, but its just a sad, most likely used for illicit deals type of park. Not worth saving.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2018, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddguy View Post
Oh for God's sake-they are replacing the park/playground space, plus adding hundreds of affordable units! This is not about any "park"-it is all about NIMBY's smh.

Build it now!
Plus two new brand new schools...

This sort of absurd BS almost makes me want to run for office and try and clean this crap up.
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  #46  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2018, 1:16 AM
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https://ny.curbed.com/2018/9/17/1787...e-city-council

City clashes with community over Upper East Side playground’s future
The Marx Brothers Playground is once again at the center of a debate about what constitutes an NYC Park






By Tanay Warerkar
Sep 17, 2018


Quote:
Parks and Education Department officials clashed with City Council members, and neighborhood and parks advocacy groups at a meeting on Monday. The source of contention is the Marx Brothers Playground, located on 96th Street, at the intersection of the Upper East Side and East Harlem. Developer AvalonBay Communities wants to bring a 700-foot tower to the full-block between First and Second Avenue, and has the support of the city administration.

The project will bring nearly 1,000 new apartments to the neighborhood, of which 330 will be affordable. The project will also create two new schools and retail. They will however lead to the loss of a beloved neighborhood playground. The administration argues that it is well within its rights to demolish the park for the new development.

For one, it argues, the developer has agreed to build a replacement park that will be the exact same size as the current park. Two, the administration says the playground isn’t technically a park. It’s instead a Jointly Operated Playground (JOP). JOPS were created in conjunction with the city’s Department of Education beginning in 1938. They are basically extensions of schools, and were largely meant for the use of schools and the city, a parks department representative argued at the meeting on Monday.

There are a total of 263 JOPS across the city, and many City Council members were alarmed to learn in recent weeks that these playgrounds aren’t technically designated as parkland, and as such could be co-opted for development in the future.
Quote:
Parks and Department of Education representatives could not find a situation where JOPS had previously been used for any other type of development other than a school expansion, and many opposed to the AvalonBay project have argued that the proposed conversion of the Marx Brothers Playground would be unprecedented.

In fact, the playground and the development are the subject of a lawsuit jointly filed by a host of preservation groups including the Municipal Arts Society and the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District. The Parks Department representative at Monday’s meeting said the ongoing litigation was the reason he was unable to answer many of the Council members’ specific questions concerning the Marx Brothers Playground and the development at the site.
Quote:
The JOP issue was up for debate at an oversight meeting convened by the Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation. Based on the testimony they heard at Monday’s meeting, City Council members could introduce legislation that would specifically identify JOPs as parkland, which typically has no development rights associated with it and cannot be replaced with large-scale development.
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  #47  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2018, 12:15 AM
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The project will bring nearly 1,000 new apartments to the neighborhood, of which 330 will be affordable. The project will also create two new schools and retail. They will however lead to the loss of a beloved neighborhood playground.
Its a good deal. They lose a lackluster playground, but gain two new schools, some retail, 330 unit that would help many in need of housing, and 670 units market rate, aiding in the housing need. Its a hell of gain.

People complain about overcrowding in schools, which is a much bigger issue than this raggedy playground or really, a field.
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  #48  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2018, 12:19 AM
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And than we wonder why development costs are so high. This bs right here... costs money. All of the court dates, hearings, bull crap catering to these NIMBYS costs money. This is than translated to overall building costs. Just one element in the total cost. While small compared to the overall cost... think of it over a widespread zone. All of these 1000's, if not millions spent on pre-development bullcrap if i'd be court dates, hearings, man-hours spent fighting this and so on.
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