Thursday, June 25, 2015

PS75 parents' statement at this morning's protest

Just two days ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to extend the West End Ave. historic district to cover our block and 711 West End Ave.
Designating the block as “historic” means that developers can’t just throw up a building – it means they have to acknowledge that there’s a community here, with a history and an integrity.
But the developers knew the vote was coming, so they slammed through a bunch of permits to avoid being accountable. The Department of Buildings issued permits on June 22 – the day before the LPC hearing – and apparently even on June 23. 
We already had concerns about tricks the developers were using. They’ve applied for a million little permits instead of transparently submitting their whole project. They tried to claim the building had no tenants! Now we know for sure they’re trying get around the accountability mechanisms that are supposed to protect the community.
But our questions are for DOB, and for the Mayor. What is DOB’s involvement with these developer tricks? After months of community efforts to work with DOB to address huge concerns, how did DOB just happen to approve the projects at the precise moment before the LPC’s vote? 

And to the Mayor: where are you? This community has written to you, emailed you, called for your help in the press. We have heard nothing from you.

DeBlasio is supposed to be the Mayor for affordable housing, and here’s a developer warehousing rent-stabilized apartments and dodging their responsibility to protect existing tenants. 

DeBlasio is supposed to the mayor for Vision Zero, and here’s a project that will bring heavy traffic dangers to kids at the deadly corner where he launched Vision Zero himself.

DeBlasio is supposed to be the mayor for education, but this amazing community school is about to be destroyed by years of construction noise and danger literally hanging over our kids’ heads. And when we call on the Mayor for help, we get silence.
We may just be public school parents and not real estate developers, but we are out here to demand answers and accountability. DOB issues construction permits that affect communities on every level, from affordability to safety to education – and they don’t have to coordinate with a single other agency. That doesn’t make any sense. Vision Zero convenes six agencies to collaborate just on street safety! But DOB doesn’t have to collaborate with any other agency, much less community, in deciding where it’s okay to launch massive multiyear construction.
We’re calling on the mayor to step in and make DOB accountable to standards set by other agencies – we need DEP, DOH, DOE, DOT, and HPD, and we need them now.
And we need the Mayor to look at these totally suspect construction permits issued to luxury developers at the 11th hour, and ask the hard questions about what kind of shady business is going on here between DOB and the developers.
Mr. Mayor, we are waiting for your answer.