Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Council Land Use Chair Leroy Comrie: "I think Atlantic Yards... should've come before the Council, definitely"

It's conventional wisdom these days that Atlantic Yards should have gone through the city's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), and that's what we hear in a Commercial Observer interview with the chair of the City Council's Land Use Committee, Queens Council Member Leroy Comrie: The Sheriff of Land Use:
Among the few city land-use issues that, in one way or another, managed to avoid City Council scrutiny-say, the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn or aspects of ground zero-are there any that, had you been the land-use chairman at the time, you would've liked to have had come before the committee for review?

Those things happened before I was chair, but I definitely want the Council to be involved in every project. I think Atlantic Yards and ground zero should've come before the Council, definitely. I think the Council is the most transparent and open process. Those processes were not open, and I think the public is still upset about the outcome of both of those projects, only because they didn't have the full opportunity to air their grievances.

The Council is a democratic party, a transparent body. We have a responsibility to make sure that anybody who comes before the Council has an opportunity to air all of the aspects of a project so that at the end of the day the residents can know exactly the pros and cons and why we came to the decisions we've made after hearing those pros and cons.
The New Domino project

Comrie does not, however, provide particular evidence he's well-informed. Here's his comment on the New Domino project in Williamsburg:
What about the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg? I imagine that massive residential project will prompt some controversy over the coming months?

The Dominos project is coming up later this month, which will be contentious. But it's been something that's been planned for a while. I think part of it is that an area that has now become a desired area for housing, an area that got rezoned, and now having opened up the Brooklyn waterfront, there's a desire for development in that area. That's versus the concerns of segments of the community that it may get overdeveloped and change the character of the existing community.
Yes, much of Williamsburg was rezoned, but the Domino site was not. This is a request for a special rezoning.

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