Final Hearing On Seward Park Development Proposal Takes Place Next Week

Rendering: NYC Economic Development Corp.

If you want your voice to be heard before the City Council votes on the land use application that will shape the redevelopment of the Seward Park development site, next week’s your last chance.  Wednesday afternoon at 1 o’clock, the Council’s planning subcommittee will hold a public hearing on the proposal.  The Council’s vote is the last step before mayoral approval.

The plan calls for 900 apartments (50% of them affordable), a large amount of commercial space and a new Essex Street Market on a 1.65 million square foot parcel adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge.  The Seward park site had been the subject of bitter community battles for four decades before Community Board 3 approved the city’s land use (ULURP) document earlier this year.

When the community board voted, City Council members Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez vowed to fight for a number of concessions from the city.  They included: a ban on big box stores, a new public school on the site, a commitment to hire local workers and compensation for Essex Street Market vendors who will be forced to move into a new facility on the south side of Delancey Street.  CB3’s priorities were spelled out in a resolution approved last spring. You can read the full document here. This morning CB3 Chairperson Gigi Li said discussions with the city are ongoing regarding the above points, but no concessions have been made. She urged residents to come to next week’s meeting to testify regarding the things they’d like to see in the plan.

The planning subcommittee will make a recommendation to the land use committee. The full Council will vote by the end of the month.  In the past, city officials have indicated they would begin soliciting proposals from private developers soon after the ULURP is approved, late this year or early in 2013.

Wednesday’s meeting takes place in City Council Chambers at City Hall.