Letters to the Editor, Nov. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Suggestions for dealing with neighbor noise

Dear Sirs,

I read with interest the reported comments about noise issues (“Residents sound off about noise,” T&V, Oct. 22). I offer three observations coupled with comments.

1.  Neighbor noise.  Meet your neighbors; slip a note under their door welcoming them and introducing yourself when you see the trail of packing materials indicative of the arrival of a potential friend.  First impressions have always been the most powerful, and this is a positive “hi.”
Then if/when there is a noise issue drop a note the day after the karaoke party/clog dance on bare floors/wild animal baying at the moon incident.  Only after that contact the ST/PCV office. Trying to solve strictly local concerns with a Public Safety response is guaranteed to generate a “to hell with them” response.

2.  The 80/20 floor coverage. I applaud this formula, and personally leap from rug to rug like a mad Frogger player in an effort to keep my neighbors happy.  Since it is a condition of the lease I would like to see a Grand Poobah who does inspect and verify this on an annual basis.

3.  Ambient noise.  My biggest gripe is with the day to day outside noise, generated by the overpowered 4x4s on the sidewalks, the five full weeks of construction involved in the ice rink, the all-day racket of the paper shredding truck, the leaf blowers on the weekend, movie and concert nights on the green.

I’d be happy if management did less for me and let this be a quiet place.

James Davis, ST

Is city obligated to support air rights transfer?

The following was left as a comment on the Town & Village Blog by user “Iggy Reilly” in response to the story, “Air rights transfer could pave way for more affordable housing.”

I was reviewing the term sheet between the City of New York (NYC) and Blackstone (Purchaser) which is located on Dan Garodnick’s website. I have a concern with the air rights transfer. The term sheet compels the City of New York, not the mayor or Dan G. but the entire City of New York, to support the transfer of air rights. To me this reads that the mayor, the City Council, the controller, city planning and the entire municipality known as the City of New York must support the transfer. What happens if one City Council member, a community district or the borough president fail to support Blackstone and the transfer is denied? It seems to me that the City of New York would be in breach of its obligations within the contract and Blackstone could seek remedy, including the cancellation of the contract.

I understand that this is only a term sheet and not the contract but, having signed a few term sheets in my lifetime, I have come to rely upon the “reasonable efforts” verbiage as default language in clauses similar to this. This leads me to assume that someone explicitly inserted “support” rather than “reasonable efforts” into the term sheet. If the language stays the same in the contract and the City of New York fails to “support” Blackstone’s endeavors (unknown and can be whatever they wish), it may provide Blackstone the chance to cancel the contract in its entirety.

Dan: You are a lawyer and should have caught this issue on first read. Sort it out before contracts are signed.

For readers unaware of the clause in question, here it is:

“In consideration of the Purchaser’s commitment to preserve affordable housing units at the Property, NYC agrees to support Purchaser’s efforts to transfer unused development rights from the Property to appropriate receiving area(s) subject to all legally required reviews. Such transfer will be subject to standard procedures utilized in similar development rights transfers.” NYC is defined as the City of New York. And note, each party with a “vote” in the review process is part of the City of New York (now you can infer why Scott Stringer sent his follow-up letter to Blackstone).

Last thought: Does the mayor’s executive capacity even allow him to sign such a contract on behalf of the City of New York? (It does obligate the City Council to act in a specific manner, doesn’t it? and there is a separation of powers, right?)

Mike checkmate

Re: Letter, “But first a word from our elected officials” by Joe Lisanti, T&V, Oct. 29

Thank you, Joe Lisanti.

I also had no interest in hearing the bloviating politicians at the Baruch meeting. I just wanted to hear what the Blackstone rep had to say.

Next time cut off the mikes at five minutes.

Best regards,

Joan Carmody, PCV

5 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, Nov. 5

  1. Response to “Is city obligated to support air rights transfer?”

    I think Iggy is reading too much into the difference between “support” and “reasonable efforts.” All the city can possibly agree to do is to work with Blackstone to figure out if maybe, possibly, there is a site/district somewhere that might be an appropriate receiving area for those air rights. Any proposal would still have to go through a full ULURP process, as the term sheet makes clear: the city’s support and the purchaser’s efforts are “subject to all legally required reviews.” Which is to say, the community boards, and the BP, and the Council would still have their say.

    And Iggy is absolutely right, of course, that this is not a contract. He is also correct to observe that the mayor doesn’t have the authority to bind other bodies to agree to anything in a ULURP action. Separation of powers are intact.

    Susan Steinberg

  2. I can look to case law for the definition of reasonable efforts. Briefly, it means that I am compelled to meet/adhere to the representations made in an agreement… but… not at the expense of my interests or cause me hardship. Good luck legally defining “support”.

    Ms. Steinberg’s response is what can be expected from the TA. The point is missed. As stated , the process for air rights transfers is very detailed and requires many different buy-ins and approvals. The term sheet is essentially compelling the CITY OF NEW YORK to “support” Blackstone’s undefined endeavors. Yes, the term sheet requires Blackstone to adhere to the legally required reviews. But the term sheet is also compelling the City of New York to support Blackstone (and last I looked, the agencies that approve such transfers are the City of New York). The point is this: What happens if the transfers of rights are denied? Does it provide Blackstone a backdoor out of the contract?

    I’m hopeful (short of certain) that the contract will better articulate the terms of City support. But the fact that the TA is so casual about a term in a contract that could negate the 20 year extension of rent stabilization protections is, well, sadly expected. Language matters. And it really matters in legal documents. Especially when the action of the recent landlords of StuyTown demonstrate just how far they are willing to go to subvert the intention of laws and contracts.

  3. The deal isn’t “providing a 20 year extension of rent stabilization protections”, it is engineering the loss of 5000 stabilized units after 20 years, or rather, setting a date on the death of the middle class in New York City. Horrible job by Susan Steinberg and her “Tenants” Association by horribly fumbling any chance of affordable tenant ownership. It’s time for her, Dan Garodnick and the entire TA board to step aside and let REAL tenant issues be fought for ethically and effectively on behalf of the residents.

      • I agree 100% with boomchackalacka, but I also would like to know how his/her suggestion can be put into action. I know that next time I vote, I will not be voting for any of our political incumbents and I think the TA has betrayed the tenants in many, many ways and needs new leadership.

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