CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (March)

Because I’m out of town, L. graciously agreed to attend the meeting and write it up. She had to leave after three (!) hours, so if anyone survived longer stayed longer, feel free to email your notes to tribecacitizen@gmail.com.

HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST’S FINANCIAL TROUBLE
Hudson River Park was created to be a self-sufficient park, but with current expenses exceeding revenue and an absence of government funding, the park is faced with a troublesome budget deficit. Hurricane Sandy left a $20 million dollar toll on the park, after Hurricane Irene cost approximately $14 million in damages. To fill the budget gap, Friends of Hudson River Park has proposed the Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District. The total proposed assessment to be paid by residents and businesses is $10 million. Peter Braus, Chair of CB1, stated the NID will not solve the problem alone, but it is part of the solution.

Community opponents to the NID made the following points: 1) HRP costs keep growing; 2) Fear that $10 million assessment cap will increase later; 3) NID’s borders exclude opposition groups; 4) Friends of HRP should explore other options such as raising private donations and exploring air rights transfers. Opponents believe it is unfair to ask 8,000 tax lot owners to bear the responsibility for 1/3 of HRP’s operating costs.

Madelyn Wils, CEO of HRP, defended the need for funding for park that is enjoyed by the entire community. Madelyn pointed out that the Tribeca section of the park, mostly used by Tribeca residents, does not generate any income. [At least until the summer concert series on Pier 26 starts this summer, and then the restaurant on Pier 26…. —Ed.]

After an hour of discussion in a jam-packed room, it was decided to schedule a public session in a larger venue to allow more people to voice their opinion.

[NOTE #1: I’d be remiss not to point out the comment thread on this post, starting with Kathryn, about last night’s meeting. NOTE #2: Another reader sent in scans of the materials handed out by Neighbors Against NID. They certainly make for provocative reading. Neighbors Against NID: Questions and Answers #1 (PDF), and Neighbors Against NID: CB1 presentation (PDF)]

spring studios 1913LIQUOR LICENSE FOR SPRING STUDIOS AT 50 VARICK
The Spring Studios team was back at it again. David Hemphill, Director of Spring, walked CB1 through the floor plans of Spring Studios, currently under construction. Spring Studios will share 50 Varick with Verizon and anticipates construction to be completed in July. For those who have missed Spring Studios at recent CB1 meetings, Spring Studios is a full-service advertising agency and fashion photography studio that plans, creates, and distributes fashion advertising for their clients. When construction is completed this summer, guests of Spring will enter through Varick. Spring will have a large entry lobby, a 60 seat cinema on the second floor, four photography studios and advertising/agency office on the fifth floor, more photography studios and restaurant on the sixth floor, two additional photography studios on the seventh floor, and a roof terrace. Spring proposes hosting 15 events over the course of the first year. It’s applying for a liquor license to be able to fully serve its clients, as well as host fashion runway and expo type of events.

The main concerns raised by neighbors are 1) Roof use; 2) Sound control, 3) Smoking on roof, 4) Number of people on roof. According to the Department of Buildings, Spring is allowed 650 people on the roof, but Spring is wiling to compromise with the community for a flat number of 400 on the roof, or an incremental system where it would be allowed 550 until 7:30 p.m., with fewer people allowed on the roof at later hours. Spring has agreed to hire a sound expert at the discretion of the community. Concerns were raised about increased car traffic from Spring Studios, further congesting Holland Tunnel traffic jams, but these traffic issues are not really related to the liquor-license application. CB1 decided to postpone the vote until the meeting next month to give Spring Studios and neighboring residents time to come up with finalized stipulations regarding the roof and sound control. Vote: Postponed to next meeting.

LIQUOR LICENSE FOR MEXICAN RESTAURANT AT 39 NORTH MOORE ST.
CB1 shut down the proposed high-end Mexican restaurant with a unanimous vote of 9-0 in opposition to the liquor license for 39 North Moore. The applicants have partnered with chef Enrique Olvera who has a restaurant in Mexico city, Pujol, which is number 36 on San Pellegrino’s list of ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.” [All of which serve Pellegrino, one presumes. —Ed.] The community was more concerned with the team’s lack of preparation for answering questions related to exhaust fumes, garbage disposal, and operating a restaurant with a residential unit to the back of the restaurant. Vote in opposition to liquor license: 9 to 0.

UPDATE: The word on the other three items discussed last night:

Saleya: withdrawn
American Cut: approved
Petit Abeille: approved

5 Comments

  1. Anyone who wants to keep informed about the fight against the NID and Neighbors Against the NID, the authors of the presentation and a “get up to speed” Q&A, which Erik has kindly posted above, should email their contact information to nohrpnid@gmail.com.

    We hope to have a web site in coming weeks, but for now, we’re sending occasional updates and requests for help through that email address.

    We’ve also just learned that Small Business Services will accept either the mailed ballot (which we can provide by email if you don’t have one) or a petition from us to show that the neighborhood does not support the plan. We hope to be out in the neighborhood next week with a flyer and the petiton, so please stop by, introduce yourself and sign if you see one of us.

    Nicole Vianna

  2. One note on the last part of L’s recap of the NID discussion… We do not believe that Peter Braus was promising a fuller discussion before the plan moves forward into the NYC approval process. From what he said, we think it’s clear he was refering to the point at which the NYC Planning Commission refers the plan back to the Community Boards for comment.

    If it gets that far, it will be very, very difficult to stop it. At that point, the Community Board (and remember that CB1 is only 1 of 3 Community Boards that have residents inside the NID zone) has to hold a hearing (what we think Peter was talking about) has 30 days to comment to the Planning Commission. Then the Planning Commission wil hold its own hearing and makes recommendations to the City Council, mayor’s office and other government entities. Then the CIty Council holds a hearing, after which the law allows for a do or die vote where support is assumed and the onus is on 51% of opposing property owners to vote against the plan by filing a physical form with a notarized copy of their deed at the City Clerk’s office. This is the point at which co-ops (actually their Boards) get only 1 vote since the co-op corporation is the property owner, not the people who live in the apartments. Don’t be fooled by the assurances they are taking care of the “co-op problem” — that’s about giving co-op owners equal representation on the governing board should the NID be established. They can’t change the state law that treats whole co-op buildings as 1 property owner for the purpose of objecting at the City Council.

    Keep in mind also that the only thing that we have seen so far is Friends of Hudson River Park’s marketing materials, not the draft district plan that was supposed to be complete BEFORE they started public outreach. All of their outreach is questionable because no one outside of the NID Steering Committee has seen exactly and in detail what they are proposing. What are the exact boundaries? Their map doesn’t have many street names and no numbers so the eastern edges are “blurry”. What will the governing board’s makeup be? How will it represent so many real-estate classes and neighborhood interests yet still be of a manageable size? How do they propose funnelling the money raised to HRP? Via grants? By paying for outside contractors? By paying for Trust employees? How will the interim board that writes the bylaws, hires staff and organzies the 1st real election be created? From the current Steering Committee which has many real estate moguls and only 3 people who actually live on the assessment zone? Some other way? What will your assessment actually be? No one has seen the preliminary assessment roll by property owner that was supposed to be part of the outreach process. There are many, many questions that haven’t been answered, so how can anyone know if they really support the plan or oppose it?

    If you have concerns, send your contact info and building address to Neighbors Against the NID at nohrpnid@gmail.com for a updates and a ballot, or sign our petition if you see us. Come to the public session of Community Board 1’s Full Board meeting on Thursday March 28 at 6 PM (come early with photo id to get through security in time) at 7 World Trade Center . 250 Greenwich St, 10th floor. to let them know you think the plan needs more community input BEFORE it starts the NYC approval process.

    Thanks,

    Nicole Vianna

  3. Regarding CB1’s full Board Meeting mentioned above, just got this notice:

    To accommodate those observing Holy Thursday, we have moved the full board meeting to Wednesday, March 27th at 6:00pm. The meeting will be at 7 World Trade Center (250 Greenwich Street), 10th Floor.

  4. I am writing my very first draft of an updated version of “Profiles in Courage ” for the Hudson River Park NID bullshittery,” but I am suffering from severe writer’s block since NO local “leader” lives up to anything resembling “courage.” They ALL just want to pad their resume with “I voted for making the HRP pretty” without mentioning the FACT that they FAILLINGLY FAILED and voted to TAXINGLY TAX the already OVERTAXED residents to BAIL THEM out of their INCOMPETENCE and COMICALLY poor planning and managing of the “Park” from it’s initial approved mandate. You know, everyone would love if the Hudson River Park was turned into a big chocolate fondue reservoir where residents could dip whatever they desired, from their big sweaty-balls to their big piggy-toes into that sweet chocolatey-goodness – but someone, realistically, has to pay for it…..you know, in the way that they ORIGINALLY said that they would PAY for the HRP……what was that again??????????????? Self-sustainingally?????? Well, it seems, unfortunately, HISTORY repeats itself again and again……and again…..and….again. Or maybe you should just…SHUT UP!! Good on ya, CB1 & HRP – selfish little f**ks! Pad your resume on the backs of taxpayers.

  5. So the NID is going to raise money to give to people who don’t know how to manage money? Seems like step one ought to be cleaning house at FoHRP.