Updated Sat., Nov. 2, 4:27 p.m.
A bill that would allow air-rights transfers from Hudson River Park was reportedly rushed to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature on Friday.
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | According to the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, the bill that would allow development-rights transfers from the Hudson River Park one block inland of the West Side Highway was rushed to Governor Cuomo for his signature on Friday.
The state Legislature approved the bill — an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act of 1998 — in June, but the governor still has not signed it.
An e-mail sent to Sierra Club members and supporters this past Friday said, “special interests have gone into overdrive in an all-out effort to get the Hudson River Park bill signed into law before it can be put before the public, reconsidered, and possibly stopped!
“The bill waiting for [Cuomo’s] signature, A.8031/S.5824, would make harmful changes to the Hudson River Park Act, allowing new construction in and over the river for non-water-dependent, view-blocking fills, structures and buildings — including but not limited to commercial office space and a new heliport in and along the river — while transferring liability for these risky developments to New York taxpayers.
“Superstorm Sandy made it more urgent than ever to stop building non-water-dependent development in this stretch of the Hudson River, since anything built there will be battered by powerful winds, tides and currents, and will be especially vulnerable to storm and hurricane damage,” the e-mail continued. “New York City’s new map of hurricane evacuation zones ranks the portion of the Hudson River governed by the Hudson River Park Act as Evacuation Zone #1 (out of 6), indicating the highest possible risk in any upcoming hurricane.”
The Sierra Club also fears the legislation, if passed, would lead to harm being done to the Hudson River marine environment and wildlife.
Lesley Doyel, of Save Chelsea, said, after four months of no action, the sudden urgency to sign the bill is “clearly” due to Tuesday’s important election, as well as this past week’s article in The Villager on community groups’ concerns over the air-rights transfers, plus growing “push-back” against the bill by local groups and some politicians.
The Sierra Club and Save Chelsea were urging people to call and e-mail the governor asking him not to sign the bill.
Laura Haight, senior environmental associate for NYPIRG, said it’s actually not necessary for Cuomo to sign the bill for it to become law: If he doesn’t sign it or veto it within 10 days of when it was submitted to him — meaning by around Nov. 13 — she said, it will automatically become law.