Here’s an update on what’s happening today as the battle for the Two Bridges neighborhood rages on.
This morning, local elected officials and residents gathered on Rutgers Street to protest the city’s release of the Two Bridges Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) just as summer gets underway. The study must be completed before the city approves three mega-projects. There was concern that Community Board 3 wouldn’t have adequate time to weigh in since it doesn’t meet in August.
The group marched downtown to the City Planning Commission, where the Two Bridges projects were entering public review. At this afternoon’s hearing, the Commission agreed to delay a public hearing on the Draft EIS until Oct. 17, giving CB3 the month of September to review and vote on the document.
Ryan Singer, a City Planning official, said the commission has a packed schedule in September anyway. “That means,” he said, the City Planning Commission would not likely be able to hold a hearing on this item until Oct. 17 at the earliest. This aligns happily with requests from the community, the applicant (the three developers) and the Borough President.”
The developers, through their land use attorney, sent a letter to the City Planning Commission on Friday requesting a delay in the public hearing. One day earlier, City Council member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer complained to City Planning about the tight timeline for community board review.
The proposed towers range in height from 62-80 stories and would add 2,775 new rental apartments in the Two Bridges area. Now that the hearing date has been pushed back, community members can focus on their larger concern: reducing the size or blocking the towers entirely.
In a statement released today, the developers said:
We have been strongly committed to dialogue with local stakeholders and outreach to local residents from the inception of the projects, now almost two years ago. We will continue to honor that commitment during the Community Board phase of the process and appreciate the concern recently expressed by the Board that it require more time to review the applications. To make that possible, we have requested that City Planning push back its public hearing to a later date, allowing the Board more time to formulate its recommendations to City Planning. We look forward to a productive discussion with the Board and other stakeholders as the applications move forward in public review.