Town hall holds lots of potential
Mayor Michael Bloombergs planned visit to Greenwich Village on Monday, when he is scheduled to hold a town hall forum with a number of his commissioners on hand to answer questions will be an excellent opportunity for dialogue between Villagers and the administration.
Organized by the Greenwich Village Block Associations, the town hall presents a chance to hear the administrations position on key issues affecting the Village.
Of course, a key topic is the extension of landmark protection to endangered areas like the Far West Village/waterfront and South Village as well as modifying zoning where necessary as a component of this protection. Were interested to hear, in general, what the mayor will have to say about the idea of putting limits on development in our historic, low-scale neighborhood.
On a related point, the use of the community-facilities zoning bonus by large institutions New York University, obviously, and now farther east, Cooper Union is one of the most pressing issues. N.Y.U. has used this bonus to build its Kimmel Center and School of Law annex on Washington Sq. S., forever changing the world-renowned vista of the square to its detriment. Cooper Union will use this bonus to rebuild its Hewitt Building three times larger than exists now, and a developer building on Coopers Engineering site will use the bonus for a new office tower. We hope the mayor will come to realize it is time to readjust this harmful bonus that allows for new buildings that overwhelm fragile neighborhoods character.
No doubt, the proliferation of pornography stores will be raised. We look forward to hearing what the mayor has to say about the increase of these stores often slipping in under the so-called 60/40 rule in residential neighborhoods, and what can be done to reform this law, which, admittedly, is tied up in litigation.
One can take a guess at what other questions might be. For instance, does the mayor think Gansevoort Market should keep evolving into a monolithic, nightlife zone, or can he offer some ways to diversify the burgeoning district? Do Bloomberg and his police commissioner support the idea of the Paid Detail Unit off-duty police in uniform being hired to patrol outside bars and nightlife? Also, how might the mayor be able to help the Hudson River Park obtain the remaining $200 million it needs to finish the whole, five-mile-long park?
Wed also like to hear from Mr. Bloomberg how a West Side stadium wont negatively impact the Village and entire West Side of Manhattan and why, as many are arguing, a better idea might not be to just expand the Javits Center, extend the # 7 line and leave it at that. Finally, since the administration has made it clear the anti-Bush protesters cant use Central Park on Aug. 29, but has given them the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan, we hope to hear plans to insure protesters rights to free speech and assembly wont be trampled by use of confining pens, as happened in February 2003, and that safety will be assured.
G.V.B.A. wants this to be a constructive meeting. Hopefully, the mayor, by addressing the issues that arise at this forum, will make it a productive one.