Friday, April 21, 2017

News From The Bronx Council for Environmental Quality

 Using Waterfront Parkland for Private Housing and Economic Development - and what that means for you

Dear Friend of Parks and Waterfront Access,

For more than twenty years, city leaders have twisted the arms of local elected officials to support using Bronx Parkland for new dream projects.  The Bronx is the testing ground for quick and greedy land swaps.  If it happens in the Bronx, it will happen in your borough.  Do not think for one moment that there is a paucity of Bronx vacant land for affordable housing; there is plenty -- it just costs more money than free parkland! 
The ULURP has started.  They are selling off publicly owned waterfront property for private profit (POW-P3).  That would be the southern section of the always-crowded-Mill Pond Park -- once the site of the historic Bronx Terminal Market swept away in exchange for Gateway, then given back (due to the high brownfield costs) for a trade-in with the Yankee Stadium Redevelopment project that alienated another crowded neighborhood park.  
Make no mistakes: this is an expensive site for NYC taxpayers.  While it is on the Harlem River waterfront, parkland will have to be alienated, sanitary and runoff sewers will have to be connected to the combined sewer system; schools will have to be built (even though vacancies are abound all over that district); noise and sensory buffers will have to be added as this area has the highest asthma rate in the country; and as they ask for an exemption for parking, more subway trains will have to be added to an already overcrowded mass transit system. This is a disaster waiting to happen.
City Developers have an answer for everything.  They say they don’t need to replace the parkland they are taking -- that they already provided for the Lower Concourse Rezoning greenway years ago. That the area has no infrastructure connection, is not a problem -- the new sewer lines will take care of adding the runoff overstressed CSO system; there is no date to begin the plan for the Harlem River LTCP; it has the largest discharge outfall citywide, with the most outfalls of any other waterbody, and has the largest catchment area per outfall. City Developers say they will build a school.  The transportation stuff is bad too. They can't fit more people in at the 149th Street Station and there is no guarantee MTA will do anything about it. Where are we going to get all this money?  All this among many years of previous broken promises in this neighborhood already!
The city does not need this; they don’t even have a private developer.  This project is not in the Lower Concourse area – it is north of that.  The $200 million for infrastructure is not enough – the CSO connection will cost that much alone.
The Bronx Council for Environmental Quality (BCEQ) will be submitting detailed comments.  BCEQ has sought to establish — as an Inherent Human Right — a sound, forward-looking environmental policy regarding an aesthetic, unpolluted, environment protecting a natural and historic heritage.  We have been working on Harlem River issues to develop connections to and along the River and create on water access and activities.  This included work on the Pier 5 Wetland and community visioning for a park, as well as the planning document for the Brownfield Opportunity Area along the River.

If it happens here, it will happen in your community.  Call/write/meet with your Council Member:  tell them you want them to vote against using parkland for housing and economic development.  We will update you when it gets to the Council.  

Come to the Bronx Community Board 4 Public Hearing this Tuesday, April 25 at 6 pm -- the Bronx Museum of the Arts.  Arrive early as you have to sign in. Be prepared, you only have 2 minutes, bring a written statement.  Ask the Community Board to please vote against using waterfront parkland for housing and economic development.

Date & Time:
Tuesday, 4.25.17
6 pm - be early   
Bronx CB 4 Hearing
ULURP, Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, etc.

Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse
Bronx, New York 10456

Draft Generic EIS Pier 5Parkland:aka Lower Concourse North,      CEQR16DME012X, ULURP 170311ZMX, N170312ZRX, 170314PPX, 170315ZSX

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