Hudson River Park Air Rights Town Hall 11/13 and Update
More than 250 people attended last week's meeting sponsored by GVSHP and nearly twenty other Village, Chelsea, Tribeca, and SoHo groups. The evening was an important opportunity to share information and ideas about the air rights sale provision of the recently-passed amendment to the Hudson River Park Act, which allows "development rights" from the park to be sold for use one block east of its boundaries. Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried (co-sponsors of the legislation) attended the meeting, as did Councilmember-elect Corey Johnson and representatives of Borough President-elect Gale Brewer and State Senator Brad Hoylman (who voted for the legislation), as well as the President and trustees of the Hudson River Park Trust, which proposed the provision. The bill has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
GVSHP has very serious concerns about the air rights provision and the impact it could have on development in our neighborhood. The bill allows what is believed to be at least 1.6 million square feet of development rights from the park - the equivalent of about six and a half Trump Soho's -- to be used inland, thus potentially tremendously increasing the development we could see in the western part of our neighborhood. There remain a great deal of unanswered questions about the air rights provision and how it could be used, though according to the authors and proponents of the legislation, the air rights cannot yet be used until a second public review and approval process takes place, which has not yet been initiated.
Ensuring that the air rights provision is not abused and does not result in overdevelopment of our neighborhood will take a tremendous amount of work; the main reason for last week's Town Hall was to educate and organize the public around the issue, so we can prevent any proposed use of the air rights that would be detrimental to our neighborhood, and so we can advocate for measures that would limit their use.
As follow up to the meeting, GVSHP wrote to elected officials and the Trust with some important outstanding questions about the measure and suggestions about next steps to consider -- read the letter HERE. You can view video from the Town Hall here or here, GVSHP's PowerPoint presentation here, and photos here. You can also read more from coverage in the Daily News here and here, Chelsea Now, The Villager, and Crain's New York. More info can be found here.