Crown Heights Development Town Hall
Hello, this is the Daily Briefing and I'm your host Mike McCabe.
This radio station is dedicated to informing you about things in your neighborhood, especially, when it comes to housing. Last night I attended a town hall in Crown Heights, that focussed on 5 developments that are in various levels of completion. The town hall was hosted by Assemblyman Walter Mosley, and two no-shows, Congresswoman Evette Clarke and City Council Member Lori Combo.
The crowd had many questions for the assemblyman and was very knowledgeable about the process. Alica Boyd, a community activist, was there to inform the people of information the assemblyman omitted.
This is a very long meeting, but it confirms what every community is going thru today, primarily because of the tie of Mayor de Blasio with developers. It is difficult not to think that there is collusion between city officials and the Real Estate Board of New York.
Please listen to what occurred last night: https://soundcloud.com/mikemccabe/intro-crown-heights-townhall
This is Mike McCabe and you are listening to the Daily Briefing. This past week, I went to a meeting at Community Board 7, in Sunset Park. The meeting was hosted by City Council Member, Carlos Menchaca, and the focus of the meeting was Homelessness. At least that was the title of the meeting. The meeting covered many other topics that the community felt were related to the shelters and hotels that house the homeless. And while I have my own thoughts about the event, I'd like you to listen to the meeting and decide how you think Sunset Park should manage the situation. So please, listen now to the meeting on homelessness.
You can download the audio file here to listen at your convenience:
Have you ever considered how you might feel if you were ever evicted from your home?
Well, on January 18, of this year 27 Chinese immigrant families living at 85 Bowery, here in New York City where told by the Department of Buildings they had to leave immediately. And within 2 hours all of those families were suddenly homeless. Some of the residents were as old as 82, and others were school-age children left to live in a shelter.
Prior to the eviction, the tenants had won a court case against the landlord securing rent stabilization for their apartments. And then shortly after, the Department of Building made the decision that the building was not safe. A staircase needed repair, but to do that the residents had to leave.
The residents were promised that they would only be out of their apartments for two weeks. Unfortunately, the work order that was needed to begin repairs, was not applied for until 2 days before the promised return date. So now, the delays began. After weeks of delays to repair the staircase, it was then discovered that asbestos had been found in the building. Not surprising since most old buildings in New York City used asbestos to insulate its pipes.
Again there would be further delays in returning to their homes. In New York City, and I would think in most places, landlords use harassment and lack of repairs to get people out of the building, so new tenants would be charged a higher rent.
During the period mentioned above and after many demonstrations the tenants were moved from shelters to a hotel in Chinatown.
The frustration the tenants felt from the lack of assistance from the Housing Preservation Department led them to hold a hunger strike. It was now February, and as I said above, some of these tenants were in their 80s; but still strong and very determined. They sat outside the Housing Preservation Department, at 100 Gold Street in the coldest period of the winter. I myself caught the flu just being there with them in solidarity.
The media showed up from time-to-time and occasionally a politician looking for good press too. Aid was sort from the mayor's office but all the tenants got was lip service from the deBlasio administration.
The people of Chinatown usually stands up for their community, and the current situation with the proposal to erect 4 super tall buildings is not an exception. 104 speakers appeared at the hearing to oppose the building of those towers. The Department of Planning gave the developers a shortcut to approval by eliminating the ULURP process, which allows the community to participate in the decisions to build. This community will not allow that decision to stand.
The Possible End of Chinatown as We Know It
Three towers are planned for the waterfront of the Two Bridges area of Manhattan. The area just north of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. They include a 660-foot tall building at 247 Cherry Street developed by JDS Development, two 50-story towers at 260 South Street from L+M Partners and CIM Group, and a 724-foot tall building at 275 South Street from Starrett Development.
Due to the Department of City Planning's decision to required the developers to go through the uniform land use review procedure (ULURP) because the development is only a “minor modification” in the eyes of the commission. But in the eyes of the community though, the four towers that are planned will destroy the neighborhood and displace the mostly immigrant families that live in Chinatown.
While the city is in need of affordable apartments, only 25% of the 2700 apartments in these four towers will be designated affordable. But then you ask, affordable for whom? The lowest requirement for income is $35,000. The average income in Chinatown is about $30,000. And as we all know, once those towers are built, or sooner, landlords will try to evict tenants throughout the community. During the hearing, two people from Cherry St. indicated that they were already threatened with eviction.
In a hearing at the City Planning Commission on Wednesday, October 17, 104 people signed up to testify. Except for a few associated with the development, most were passionately against the Towers. Included in the list were Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Woman Margaret Chin, and Assembly Woman, Yuh-Line Niou. All three were against the building of the Towers. Gale Brewer demanded that the Planning Commission change their decision to forego ULURP.
This is the second half of our show where David Eisenbach and Ray Rogers explains the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.
Please check below to see how you can contact your City Council Member and tell them to support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, without changes to it's current configuration.
We need the help of every New Yorker to save small business in NYC. Gentrification and greedy land lords are forcing the closure of small business all across the city. The Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) is a bill that has been introduced in the NYC City Council that would give commercial tenants three specific rights: A minimum 10-year lease with the right to renewal, so they can better plan for the future of their business. Equal negotiation terms when it comes time to renew their lease with recourse to binding arbitration by a 3rd party if fair terms can not be found. Restrictions to prevent landlords from passing their property taxes on to small business owners. The law would create a quick step by step process to arrive at fair lease terms. One which is controlled by both parties and can be stopped at anytime by mutual consent. An arbitration process, which gives both parties equal opportunity to present their arguments for their reasonable terms of the lease. A process which takes into consideration the unique nature of every business and every business community, where the arbitrator’s decision is guided by strict criteria and based upon a case by case situation to decide fair and reasonable lease terms. Below is a list of City Council members, please call them and tell them to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act without changes.Read more