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Breaking: Community Board 3 Approves SPURA Guidelines; Sheldon Silver Backs Proposal

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After 43 years of bitter battles over the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, Community Board 3’s land use committee approved a set of planning guidelines tonight for the 7-acre parcel next to the Williamsburg Bridge. Only one member of the committee, Damaris Reyes of GOLES, voted against the proposal.  This evening, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gave a big boost to the plan, endorsing CB3’s guidelines:

“I want to commend the leadership and members of the Community Board 3 Land Use, Zoning, Public and Private Housing Committee for their effort to achieve, at long last, a true consensus about the future of Seward Park. From the outset, this process was conducted openly, transparently and fairly and went to great lengths to give voice to the broad range of views that make up our extraordinarily diverse community. While there were, at times, deep and principled disagreements among stakeholders, I believe that ultimately this process brought our community together. The final guidelines that were approved by the committee tonight strike an appropriate balance between the needs and concerns of all stakeholders and will result in a development that will ensure our neighborhood continues to thrive. At a time when civil discourse to resolve seemingly intractable problems is in exceedingly short supply, I hope this process can serve as a small reminder that when we come together with a willingness to listen to each other and a commitment to civility, there is no problem too great that we can’t solve together as one community.”

And from State Senator Daniel Squadron:

“The community board vote is a huge win for the community.  It is appropriate that after 43 years, a community-driven process has moved SPURA forward.  Over the last few months, I was honored to work with members of the committee, community members and my colleagues in government –Speaker Silver, Councilmembers Chin and Mendez, and Mayor Bloomberg — to support an open and productive process that will lead to real results.”

CB3’s full board votes on the proposal tomorrow evening. A full report from tonight’s meeting is coming up tomorrow morning.

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  1. 43 years in the making! Oh boy oh boy this is a pretty exciting time for the Lower East Side. I have yet to read the final proposal, but I hope the low and middle income people got their just due!

  2. I think everyone in that room was pretty shocked it happened. GOLES was pretty unhappy. They wanted to see the affordable numbers go up. A lot will depend what happens from here on out. The community is going to have to stay really engaged and see this thing through to get what everyone wants.

  3. Having just moved here from Santa Monica, California last fall, I was not sure what to expect at this meeting. I was especially impressed with how John Shapiro facilitated the discussion, moving it forward point by point. I was also impressed by the tone of the public discussion, which I feared might degenerate into name calling, but which proved heartfelt and thoughtful. Also, as a new reader to this news source, I think we are lucky to have such a fine source of journalism in our midst. The editors obviously take pride in their product.
    The end result – I am starting to feel part of a very real, polyglot, multi-colored, multi-cultural community – exactly what I moved here to experience.
    I look forward to the development of the parcels and the hopeful retention of Essex Street Market, perhaps a bit modernized but mostly as is. But most of all, I celebrate my new community for being able to come together in such a cohesive way to push forward for improvements.

  4. Thanks for your very kind words, Joseph. Covering this story has been a great experience. Not everyone is happy with the end result, but I know I have come away from the last several months with tremendous respect for all of the passionate people who have been involved in the process. Hope to meet you in person sometime soon.

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