District 4 candidates weigh in on issues affecting Stuyvesant Town

By Sabina Mollot

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, who’ll be holding a meet-and-greet with candidates from the City Council District 4 race on September 9, have also quizzed the aforementioned candidates on a number of locally important issues.

Reaching out via a questionnaire, candidates were asked their thoughts on the needs of students amidst a current baby boom, the planned sanitation garage near Waterside and concerns specific to Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village as well as other issues.

The Tenants Association has published the results of their questionnaire online. Some of the candidates’ comments are below.

Asked about the planned sanitation garage for the Brookdale campus, all candidates who responded to the questionnaire said they simply thought it was inappropriate for the site and didn’t support it, except for Keith Powers and Marti Speranza who had different answers.

Powers said, “I have concerns about traffic and pollution, but need to see a new proposal to determine the appropriateness.”

Speranza said, “In the midst of a housing crisis, we should be considering city-owned land as potential sites for the creation of affordable housing. There is a need for a sanitation garage that can better serve the waterside area — trucks currently travel from Northern Manhattan, creating congestion and pollution — but the city needs to consider the other more viable sites that the community has proposed.”

Asked about what they felt was the top concern regarding ST/PCV, all candidates answered affordability. In response to the TA’s question on how to help the complex’s “Roberts” tenants, who will lose all rent protections in 2025, the candidates had a variety of answers.

Rebecca Harary said a study should be conducted with one option being offering the landlord another tax subsidy in exchange for not increasing the rents beyond what the Rent Guidelines Board authorizes.

Vanessa Aronson said she’d form a coalition and fight to continue to keep the complex for the middle class.

Maria Castro said she’d push for legislation in Albany to extend tenants’ rent protections to 2060 or beyond.

Rachel Honig said she’d work with the owner to mitigate the loss of regulated units and said Roberts tenants should be prioritized for any available stabilized units.

Jeffrey mailman suggested a “SCRIE-style” rent freeze program that incorporates Roberts tenants.

Powers, who’s on the board of the Tenants Association, suggested exploring options (including legal options) sooner rather than later, noting that in 2020, when Roberts tenants start getting annual 5 percent rent increases, this will present a burden to many.

Schachter called for making sure all eligible seniors are enrolled in SCRIE.

Barry Shapiro said there wasn’t much that could be done due to rent laws being eroded in Albany, but said he’d only support tax breaks for developers that benefit low and middle income housing.

Speranza said she wanted to see the timeline extended and suggested exploring regulating the sale of Blackstone’s unused air rights to give tenants some leverage.

On schools, all but Honig and Castro thought adding new public schools was a good idea in response to all the new development in the district. Honig instead called for greater school choice. Powers also suggested adding classroom seats to existing schools and other sites.

Candidate Alec Hartman didn’t respond to the questionnaire.

The meet-and-greet event will take place on Saturday, September 9 from 1-3 p.m. at the south side of the Oval (near Playground 12). In the event the weather doesn’t cooperate, and there’s a cancellation, management and the TA will send an e-mail at noon. The following candidates have agreed to attend: Aronson, Honig, Mailman, Powers, Schachter and Speranza. Harary, the only Republican in the race, will be represented by her campaign manager. If their schedules permit, Castro and Barry Shapiro may attend. Hartman had a scheduling conflict.

The Democratic primary is September 12.

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