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  #81  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 5:16 PM
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The railyards development is in a sleeping phase, and yet the NIMBYs aren't...
http://nyfi.observer.com/green/127/w...ly-yards-forum

Dispatch From West Side Rail Yards Forum

By Joe Pompeo and Eliot Brown
Friday, June 12, 2009

Manhattan's Community Board 4 held a forum Wednesday night about the Related Companies' plans for developing the West Side Rail Yards--a site adjacent to the new High Line Park, which opened to the public on Monday to rave reviews.

Some quick background: Related, which the M.T.A. selected to develop the site (but hasn't yet signed a contract), wants to create a mix of residential and commercial space, as well as parks, a school and a cultural center, on a platform built above the yards. Friends of the High Line, as the New York Post reported earlier this week, want to ensure that an unprotected, half-mile section of the old rail trestle is set aside as park space.

We sent Observer intern Alex Tafet to Wednesday's meeting, where he said a large lumber of people turned out in red "Save the High Line at the Rail Yards" t-shirts. Here are a few notes from his dispatch:

•Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee Chair Anna Levin said permanent and affordable housing is the community's priority, with other goals being to preserve the High Line, create parking and public facilities, and incorporate the arts into the plans.

•Vishaan Chakrabarti, Related's executive vice president of design & planning, reiterated those goals, as well as the creation of a public school and promoting sustainability. The school, he said, would be a 120,000-square-foot, 750-seat facility for grades K-8.

•Mr. Chakrabarti's presentation also stated: Office and residential space would comprise as much as 2.2 million square feet and 4.4 million square feet respectively; there would be fewer retail shops and tall buildings closer to the water; there would be two 800-space parking garages underneath the parks and buildings; and that the High Line would be integrated into the new design.

•During the question-and-answer session that followed, one person asked how the new site might help fix Hell's Kitchen's "awful" infrastructure. Members of the West Side Neighborhood Alliance said there should be no building's taller than 66-feet. Several speakers said the plan didn't include enough affordable housing.

The community board is weighing in at this point as half the 26-acre site is going through the city's seven-month rezoning process. The next step will be a recommendation by the community board, and ultimately a vote by the City Council on the plan.
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  #82  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 5:35 PM
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66 feet. That's hilarious.
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  #83  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 7:55 PM
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66 feet, are they kidding? The previously noted design would be such a good one. Tall buildings surrounded by parks, preserving the high line. No developer is going to be willing to pay the huge price to do this project if they can't build anything that'll be profitable (read: buildings under 66 feet tall) on the site. Isn't the Javits Center taller than 66 ft?
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  #84  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 9:40 PM
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66 feet, are they kidding? The previously noted design would be such a good one. Tall buildings surrounded by parks, preserving the high line. No developer is going to be willing to pay the huge price to do this project if they can't build anything that'll be profitable (read: buildings under 66 feet tall) on the site. Isn't the Javits Center taller than 66 ft?
It most likely is. 66ft. would be six floors of residential or four to five of offices. I'd imagine this is purely to maintain continuity with Hell's Kitchen's scale.
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  #85  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 10:56 PM
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66 feet. That's hilarious.
It really is. I would like to have known just how this person came up with that ridiculous figure. One thing about those NIMBYs, just when you think you've heard the most absurd excuse, there's more.
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  #86  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2009, 5:08 PM
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  #87  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2009, 5:09 PM
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http://chelseanow.com/articles/2009/...8819042997.txt

Hudson Yards 'Himalayas' earn public ire at forum

June 18, 2009
By Diane Vacca


“We’re being handed crumbs,” said Marilyn Suroski, speaking at a public forum on the proposed Hudson Yards mega-project on Wed., June 10. “There’s far too little affordable housing.”

Many West Siders agreed with Suroski’s assessment of The Related Companies’ revised plan for the development of the Western Rail Yards. The 13-acre site, bounded by 11th Ave. and the Hudson River from 30th to 33rd Sts., will include one commercial and six residential towers set within five acres of open space.

Local advocates, no doubt encouraged by their success in trouncing plans for a stadium at the same site four years ago, vigorously denounced the “humongous” scale of the buildings and complained that provisions for affordable housing were woefully inadequate. Attendees of the forum also worried about what they perceived as a lack of planning for essential public facilities and demanded preservation of the northernmost portion of the High Line.

Community Board 4 and the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee, chaired by Anna Hayes Levin, had specified the need for permanently affordable housing for middle-income households integrated with the on-site market-rate housing. Instead, 20 percent of the approximately 5,000 residential units will be affordable for low-income households, while the middle-income permanently affordable housing will be built off-site at two locations in Hell’s Kitchen. After 20 years, the low-income, on-site affordable housing will revert to market-rate.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, Related’s executive vice president of design and planning, emphasized the revisions of the original proposal in response to community concerns. The plans for two buildings originally cantilevered over the High Line on the west side of the site were altered, with one building eliminated entirely and the other shifted away from the elevated park. There will now be a five-foot gap between the High Line and all buildings, Chakrabarti explained, and small open spaces will form a “necklace,” rather than one great space, as requested. The project will be sustainable, with a series of green roofs and the potential to return power to the grid. Board 4 had requested that commercial development be minimized and restricted to 11th Ave. and east, but most of the buildings will be mixed use, with retail on the ground floor.

Though Chakrabarti’s stated intention was to integrate the development into the city, several people pointed out that the combined effects of the high street wall and the absence of economic diversity, owing to the lack of permanently affordable housing, will create an isolated enclave divorced from the surrounding area.

Related has proposed a 750-seat, K-8 school on the site, but Assemblymember Richard Gottfried said in a statement that the school will accommodate only children living the Hudson Yards project area. A larger or second school is needed, he noted, to alleviate the severe classroom shortage in District 2.

Many feared that public services—such as water, electricity and sewage, as well as safety measures like a firehouse and adequate police protection—were being overlooked or inadequately planned for.

“We need these services in place before the people move in, before we need them, before the toilets start backing up,” said Elaine Marlovitch.

Although there will be an on-site firehouse, its location hasn’t been determined. Joe Restuccia, co-chairperson of Board 4’s Housing, Health and Human Services committee, warned that when the land rises in value, the city will find it impossible to compete for space with private interests.

Christine Berthet, co-chairperson of the board’s Transportation Planning Committee, was concerned that the two proposed garages of 800 spaces each would not be limited to accessory parking and would therefore be available to transient drivers. She also lamented the lack of a direct entrance to the subway. David Karnovsky, general counsel for the City Planning Commission, assured Berthet that the parking would be strictly accessory and the site would be connected to the subway “if we can find a way.”

Karnovsky also responded to the many people who wanted assurance regarding the future of the High Line. He denied that the High Line is at risk, because it is a “component of the open space network.” However, “We haven’t really finalized how we’re going to treat the High Line in the eastern yards yet,” he admitted. “We hope to resolve it.”

Although CB 4 had requested primarily residential development at reasonable density—“not monstrous buildings,” as Levin put it—Related is planning to build 5.7 million square feet distributed among seven buildings. These will be arranged in a cascade, with the tallest building—a commercial tower of 50 to 60 stories and 1.5 to 2.2 million square feet—at the northeast corner of the site and the lowest, 45 stories, at the southwest corner. The massive scale of the development—once jokingly referred to as the “Himalayas between Clinton and Chelsea” by Levin—unsurprisingly evoked many comments.

“You’re not listening to us,” said Chelsea resident Marguerite Yaghjian. “We’ve told you and told you time and again that we don’t want high buildings.”


Advocates also want more affordable housing, but not the way the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development and Related have proposed to provide it, at two off-site locations. One site for permanently affordable housing, owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, lies on the east side of Ninth Ave. between 54th and 53rd Sts. The area has an 85-foot (nine stories) height restriction and would yield 89 units. In order to provide 19 additional units, HPD is proposing a zoning change that would raise the allowable height to 115 feet (12 stories).

The second site, owned by the city, provides primary access to the city’s third water tunnel, which is now under construction. It lies in the heart of the Special Clinton District, on the west side of 10th Ave. between 48th and 49th Sts. The developable portion sits over the Amtrak rail cut, or half the site. The zoning of the Special District, which has a building-height restriction of 66 feet (seven stories) and a 60-foot rear-yard requirement, would allow construction of two buildings with a total of 119 units. HPD is proposing a zoning change in order to build a single, C-shaped building, 10 to 11 stories (99 feet high), with 204 units.

“We fought for 40 years for the Special District,” said Richard Marans, of the 47-48th St. Block Association. “Now to have the city come along and stick a knife in our back, put a nail in the coffin of the Special District and ruin what makes us special.”

He added that the community doesn’t consider the second affordable housing site on 10th Ave. to be in context with the neighborhood.

“We consider the huge, massive, Soviet-style wall will block out air and light,” Marans said.

Speaking anonymously, an actress added, “I want to live in a city with historical perspective. I don’t want to live in a city that all of a sudden grows higher and higher and higher so we forget our history. Where’s your passion for saving our beautiful, historical spot?”
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  #88  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2009, 7:05 PM
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yes, lets please save the hudson rail yards... it's so beautiful and historical!
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  #89  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2009, 7:09 PM
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yes, lets please save the hudson rail yards... it's so beautiful and historical!
LOL, it almost boggles the mind..

Quote:
Speaking anonymously, an actress added, “I want to live in a city with historical perspective. I don’t want to live in a city that all of a sudden grows higher and higher and higher so we forget our history. Where’s your passion for saving our beautiful, historical spot?”
Someone should inform that "actress" that she should study the history of Manhattan a little more. The skyscrapers always bloom there. Besides, the railyards will always be there, underneath the towers and parkland.

Quote:
“You’re not listening to us,” said Chelsea resident Marguerite Yaghjian. “We’ve told you and told you time and again that we don’t want high buildings.”
And someone please tell that woman to put a lid on it.
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  #90  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 10:40 PM
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“You’re not listening to us,” said Chelsea resident Marguerite Yaghjian. “We’ve told you and told you time and again that we don’t want high buildings.”
Not only do you live in a city, but you happen to be in New York City. And not only do you like in New York City, you live in Manhattan. What exactly were you expecting? A subdivision of ramblers? Townhomes?
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  #91  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 11:30 PM
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Not only do you live in a city, but you happen to be in New York City. And not only do you like in New York City, you live in Manhattan. What exactly were you expecting? A subdivision of ramblers? Townhomes?
Yeah, it's almost sickening the nerve of these people. But that's what happens when people start believing that every whim must be catered to. It's fine and sometimes necessary for the public to have a voice in what's being built. But there is a rational limit to how far that extends. That lady is far, far beyond it.
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  #92  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2009, 1:37 AM
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It's funny that most of the people that go to these things are anti-towers but no pro-development people show up.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2009, 4:17 AM
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It's funny that most of the people that go to these things are anti-towers but no pro-development people show up.
That's mainly because people who are for developments don't feel there's anything to stop. On the other hand, NIMBYs are usually angry and demanding, and jump at the oppurtunity to complain or voice demands. There's a vague proposal for development over the railyards, yet what the NIMBYs do know is that there will be skyscrapers, and not just a few. There's hardly anything for even the strongest supporter of the railyard development to get excited about.
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Old Posted Jun 20, 2009, 1:43 PM
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Unfortunately, all the politicians hear are the NIMBY's side of the story so the perception is that "the public" is against development.
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  #95  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2009, 4:07 AM
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Haha, so now there's a "silent majority" when it comes to zoning issues. I don't dispute the idea, but I think a lot of people are more anti-development than you think. It's just that there is a small vocal group willing to protest it. The rest might grumble about the taller buildings initially, and the construction hassles, but then come to accept it. Few people are explicitly pro-development, besides politicians, urban planners, and architects, because new development ALWAYS adds some level of extra traffic to the streets, sidewalks, and subways.
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Old Posted Jun 21, 2009, 5:17 AM
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People are afraid of change, they get sentimental and don't want things to interrupt there lives even if it means slightly tweaking the local skyline.

I think this project is awesome and I really want to see the area around the new High Line (which I love) to be developed big time.

One way to combat NIMBYism would be for government to put out polls to people more often. Just needs to get an accurate piece of the population is all.
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Old Posted Jun 21, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Wow... It sounds like the people in that meeting chose the wrong city to live in. They don't like the size of the buildings? Do they realize they're in Manhattan? Are they insane? What happened here is really sad.
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  #98  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2009, 7:18 PM
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Unfortunately, all the politicians hear are the NIMBY's side of the story so the perception is that "the public" is against development.
It depends. The savy politicians know when and when not to cave in to the NIMBYS. The difference is a project like Atlantic Yards or Willets Point, compared to a development like the Con Ed site or Riverside South. At the railyards development, there really is no height limit, but the buildings are limited in size, which is why those general heights are given.
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  #99  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2009, 1:20 AM
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Did the NIMBY's successfully shoot this down?

I hope not.
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  #100  
Old Posted Jun 22, 2009, 2:50 AM
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Did the NIMBY's successfully shoot this down?

I hope not.
No, they're just doing their regular absurd ranting.

The site already has an agreed-upon maximum of 6.4 million square feet of space. This was already agreed to by the City Council, City Planning, the MTA and the developer.
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