CB6 eyes city-owned sites for open space

Baruch College’s pedestrian block on East 25th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Baruch College’s pedestrian block on East 25th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community Board 6 is exploring opportunities to create more open space in the district and discussed the possibility of utilizing city-owned property to do so at the most recent Land Use and Waterfront committee meeting earlier this month.

Committee Chair Terrence O’Neal said that the board is currently combing the neighborhood for spaces owned by the city that might be available, but it isn’t always a straightforward transaction.

“When (the city does) own property, they want to make something out of it,” he said, referencing the deal the city made with Brookdale and Hunter College for the planned sanitation garage.

Although residents are still fighting the plan, the sanitation garage proposal for the Brookdale site at East 25th Street and First Avenue came about because the original site of the sanitation garage, at East 74th Street and York Avenue, was sold to Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital. The sale provided funding for the garage, which needed to be replaced, and the land on East 25th Street will revert back to city ownership when Hunter College moves the facilities currently in that space up to Yorkville as part of the MSK project.

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DSNY trying to move forward with sanitation garage project

 

Hunter College’s Brookdale Campus, site of the proposed sanitation garage (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Hunter College’s Brookdale Campus, site of the proposed sanitation garage (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

In their recent monthly meeting on September 10, Community Board 6’s Land Use and Waterfront committee members were blindsided by news that the city is trying to move forward with the plan for a sanitation garage that has been proposed for East 25th Street and First Avenue, in the middle of what is known as Bedpan Alley.

Community members and local elected officials have been fighting against the plan since it was announced by the Department of Sanitation the end of 2012 and although former Mayor Bloomberg seemed intent on pushing the proposal through before he left office, it has mostly been on hold since the change of administration.

However, that hiatus is seemingly over, as committee chair Terry O’Neal announced that the department has aggressively been trying to put the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) proceeding through to assess the area’s land use and even tried to get it done during the community board’s summer recess.

He noted that DSNY had informed local elected officials during the summer that they would be submitting two ULURPs and are attempting to submit them by the end of this month. The area on which DSNY is attempting to build the garage is not currently zoned for industrial use and if the ULURP goes through, the city will have one less obstacle for the proposal.

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