The Department of City Planning today announced that it’s pushing off a public scoping meeting for the upcoming Two Bridges environmental review until May 25. It had originally been scheduled for April 27.
The environmental review is meant to study how the Lower East Side will be impacted by three large-scale residential projects along the East River. City Council member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer put out a press release heralding the delay.
The elected officials wrote a letter to the developers of the three projects March 17, asking them to support a delay. They declined, just as they had when local residents made a similar request earlier this year. Brewer and Chin then fired off a second letter to City Planning, noting that the environmental review documents were not made available in Spanish and Chinese. There are a large number of non-English speakers within the impacted area.
“The Two Bridges community needs time to consider all of the impacts of these massive development projects – and that requires the release of information in a language that they can understand,” said Chin. “That is why I joined Borough President Brewer to fight for more time for the community to arrive at a consensus about its needs and desired outcomes. In order to achieve this goal, I will continue to fight to ensure that residents and business owners in Two Bridges are heard.”
The scoping meeting will now take place May 25 at the Manhattan Municipal Building, Mezzanine level, 1 Centre St. There are separate sessions at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. We published the “draft scope of work” last month.
On Wednesday, April 19, Community Board 3’s land use committee is scheduled to discuss its position on the draft scope of work. That meeting takes place at University Settlement, 273 Bowery at 6:30 p.m.
The projects planned in the Two Bridges area include a 79-story tower at 247 Cherry St. from JDS Development Group; 62 ad 69 story towers from L+M Development Partners and the CIM Group at 260 South St.; and a 62-story building by the Starrett Group at 259 Clinton St. A spokesperson for the developers declined to comment today. In late March, they released a statement saying, “We share the elected officials’ desire for meaningful community engagement, which is why we believe it’s important to start the scoping process and analyze the issues that have been raised. We have taken part in an unprecedented pre-development process and have gleaned important feedback from three public meetings in the neighborhood and several additional meetings with residents and community groups. We look forward to building on this as we head into the scoping hearing and the environmental review process.”
UPDATE 3:30 p.m. A few more details from a letter sent by DCP Director Marisa Lago to Council member Chin and Borough President Brewer today. The letter notes that the city is legally required to hold the hearing 30-45 days after the draft scope is released. Lago says her agency is committed to providing multi-language access to the community. The scoping notice, she said, would soon be posted in Chinese and Spanish on DCP’s website. The city has also asked the developers to provide translation services at the meeting. They have agreed.