Dear Colleagues:
 
You are encouraged to attend the following public hearing.  On Tuesday, July 12, 2005 the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will hold a public scoping hearing at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, 1680 Lexington Avenue @ East 106th Street, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, on the above proposed project.  Government officials, community board members and the general public are invited to sign-up and testify on the scope of the proposed project.  For those who cannot attend written comments can be sent by mail to Mr. Hardy Adasko, Senior Vice President of Planning, NYC Economic Development Corporation, 100 William Street - 6th floor, New York, NY  10038, by no later than Friday, July 22, 2005.
 
The Uptown New York Project, is being proposed by EDC for East 125 to 127th Sts., between Second and Third Avenues.  The project is a mixed-use, $1-billion dollar, 3-million square foot development, which will include 700,000 square foot of commercial space, 1500 housing units in 5-6 apartment towers of between 30-40 stories, parking for 1,000 cars above and below grade and underground parking for 80 MTA buses, which presently occupies part of the site.
 
EDC has issued a Positive Declaration, an Environmental Assessment Statement, and a Draft Scope of Work for the draft Environmental Impact Statement, dated June 10, 2005.  Copies are available at the NYC Office of Environmental Coordination, 100 Gold Street - 2nd floor, New York, NY  10038 (see above CEQR No.).
 
I have read the documents and would like to offer areas of concern that the public should be aware of, which include the following (please feel free to incorporate in your own comments):
 
1.    Before any further developments are proposed on 125th Street, the NYC Department of City Planning (CPC) and the NYC EDC should complete the ongoing 125th Street/River-to-River Study, begun in 2003.  The study advisory group is made up of community leaders, private and public citizens of community board nos. 9, 10 & 11.  Some of the areas under study include land-use, zoning and transportation.  If anything, the preliminary recommendations of this ongoing study should be incorporated in the Draft Scope of Work.
 
2.    The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) should complete its Harlem/Morningside Heights Transportation Study, which includes the area from 116th Street to 135th Street, River to River, before any further developments are proposed on 125th Street.
 
3.    The site requires a zoning change from R7-2 (medium density residential), M1-1 and C4-4 to C4-6, a high density commercial and residential equivalent (R10).  The City and Community Boards 10 & 11 recently adopted contextual zoning districts for significant parts of their neighborhoods that encourages medium density building with height limitations.  The proposed rezoning would deviate from this line of thinking.  EDC should consider a medium density, contextual rezoning for this site. 
 
4.    EDC should discourage the potential for big-box stores in this project.  The East River Plaza project, not too far from this site, is proposed at 116th Street & the FDR Drive and will already have two large big-box stores, i.e. Home Depot & Costco with its related traffic and parking issues.
 
5.    EDC should discourage additional traffic and parking at this site.  The site is adjacent to the Triboro Bridge, The Third Avenue Bridge, the Willis Avenue Bridge, Second and Third Avenues, the Harlem River Dive, the new Auto Mall (Potamkin), the proposed East River Plaza shopping mall and an existing surface parking and bus depot for uptown MTA buses, already generators of a lot of traffic.  East Harlem presently has the second highest asthma rate in the country, after the South Bronx.
 
6.    EDC should consider affordable housing for low, moderate and middle income households.  The new housing should be 1/3 low-income ($18,000 to $37,000), 1/3 moderate-income ($37,000 to $62,000) and 1/3 middle-income ($62,000 to $80,000). 
 
Hope you can all attend this very important public hearing.     
 
Raymond Plumey, AIA
Architect & Planner, PC
308 Pleasant Avenue
New York, NY 10035-4417
(212) 410-4931
(212) 410-3721 fax
rplumey@aol.com


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