NYU CORE PROJECT HITS SNAG

Land Use

 

In a blog released in June of 2012, we discussed the City Planning Commission’s approval of New York University’s Core proposal (a/k/a NYU 2031) – a large redevelopment/expansion project in Greenwich Village.  The project was subsequently approved by the City Council with a vote of 44 to 1.   The redevelopment plan was fraught with opposition from local residents, community groups, preservationists, and even faculty and students of New York University.  Opponents of the project challenged the City’s approval in State Court.

The State Court Judge this week ruled partly in favor of opponents of the plan.   While the Judge dismissed the majority of claims made by opponents, the Judge ruled that the City improperly handed over three public parks to NYU to enable the redevelopment project without State Legislature approval.

The City took the position that State Legislature approval of the alienation of parkland was not necessary here since the community gardens at issue were not technically “parks” since they were never officially dedicated as “parks” and were still designated on City maps as unused streets.   However, Judge Mills, siding with opponents on this issue, disagreed, and stated in her decision that “Land may become parkland by implication even…where the land remains mapped for another purpose, as here.”  Opponents had been arguing that the City has always treated these community gardens as parks and they have always operated as parks.

Both sides are claiming the decision as a victory.  Opponents take the position that the ruling stops the project in its tracks since the decision materially modifies the project and will necessitate the filing of a new application and a new environmental review.  Supporters take an alternative position stating that nearly all claims were dismissed and NYU can proceed with the development of the first and largest of the new buildings under the plan – known as the Zipper Building.

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