FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2021
Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.)
MEDIA CONTACT: Roger Manning GovernorsIslandCoalition AT gmail.com
Press Release: 57 AGAINST, 23 IN FAVOR – APRIL 5TH GOVERNORS ISLAND CITY COUNCIL HEARING
On Monday April 5th the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises held the only scheduled City Council public hearing regarding the Trust For Governors Island up-zoning proposal for the island’s southern area. 80 people testified – 57 against and 23 in favor.
Council member Margaret Chin sparred with the Trust’s representatives about whether a hotel and boatel, which are included in the rezoning plan should be built on Governors Island. Wesley O’Brien from the Trust confirmed that the educational institution anchor tenant would have a 30 year lease, which seemed like a red flag to Chin. She said her constituents do not want an Amazon or Google type business as an eventual anchor tenant. She pushed for a lease that would go in perpetuity.
Members of the Trust’s Community Advisory Council dominated the first portion of the public speaking period, testifying in favor of the proposal. Most focused on the concept of a climate research center while neglecting to address the imposition of high-rise high-density development on the bucolic south island and inadequate financial planning.
They were soon vastly outnumbered by speakers in opposition including representation from the Sierra Club NYC, Voice of Gowanus, 4Heads arts, Seaport Coalition, East River Park Action, and the Lenape community.
Chief Dwaine Perry of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation who have not been consulted in the planning for Governors Island met with the community group Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.) and made the following statement:
“When we have such a natural open breathable place such as this it should be left for people and wildlife as it was originally intended. It’s a rare blessing to have a place like Governors Island in New York City. Preserve the openness and sacredness.”
Former urban planner and Manhattan Borough President candidate Lindsey Boylan pointed out, “That [The rezoning plan] sounds like an extension of the city, which is exactly what people are trying to escape.” Allie Ryan, co-founder of M.A.G.I.C. and Council District 2 Candidate observed that rezoning plan was created pre-COVID19 lockdown. Boylan, Ryan and many others supported consideration of the “M.A.G.I.C. Alternative South Island Visualization” an alternative to the Trust’s current vision [ https://govislandcoalition.
The Trust’s opening presentation omitted previously presented financial details and projections. Manhattan Community Board 1 President Tammy Meltzer testified that the Trust has not provided alternative financial modeling to adequately evaluate the plan – reinforcing a City Planning Commissioner’s remark in March that this rezoning plan is akin to the City giving the Trust a blank check for an unspecified project.
M.A.G.I.C. co-founder Roger Manning highlighted that “Any discussion regarding a climate research center here is irrelevant. This is a proposal to up-zone the south island, period. And any new building should not exceed the four story height of buildings in the historic district.” In March a City Planning Commissioner noted that there is no Request For Proposals (RFP) in place to legally require that a climate center be built.
Written testimony is accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org.