Friday, October 17, 2008

CB9 Debates Bylaws, Historical Preservation

CB9 Debates Bylaws, Historical Preservation
By Daniel Amzallag

Community Board 9 discussed bylaws and approved resolutions concerning historical preservation at its monthly general board meeting Thursday night.

The board, whose district stretches from West 110th to 155th streets, had created a committee to propose revisions and amendments to its bylaws. Board member Tamara Gayer presented the committee’s suggestions Thursday, which were discussed for approximately two hours. CB9 will vote on the bylaw amendments at next month’s general board meeting.

Among changes to absence policy and officer elections, the bylaw amendments allow an attendee to be removed from a meeting for “using profanity, threats, and/or engaging in physical confrontation with another member.”

The board also discussed historical preservation in Morningside Heights. It approved a resolution to University President Lee Bollinger expressing admonishment for Columbia’s alleged plans to demolish several brownstones on West 115th and 116th streets.

“Columbia has not been forthcoming at all. They have not provided any information,” said Irene Cheng, who represented a committee of residents of 115th and 116th streets.

Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Manhattanville and Central Harlem) spoke of Urban American Management Corporation, the new owner of 3333 Broadway, a 1,190-unit development on West 133rd Street. The building was originally under the Mitchell-Lama program, a state affordable-housing program, until it opted out in May 2005. Since then, the building has seen hundreds of evictions.

Wright charged the complex’s new owner, Urban American, with “trying to knock people out, harass them out to bring in market-rate tenants.”

Urban America—as well as its previous owners—purchased 3333 Broadway for “entirely too much money,” and now need to evict tenants with fixed rents in order to meet costs, he claimed.
The board also approved several letters of support. One letter will be sent to the New York City Department of Transportation expressing conditional support for the “concept of the design” for an expansion of Montefiore Park between West 136th and 138th streets. The letter of support allows Harlem Heritage and Housing to go forward in completing a design, but insists on additional green space and on a replacement of parking spaces that will be eliminated.

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