ULURP Watch: Greenpoint Landing Development is Certified

by Heather Van De Mark on

The day has come: Greenpoint Landing Development’s variance request has been certified. For all those who attended our community workshop last month and participated in the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s What is ULURP sandwich-building-exercise, you know what this means.

If you missed the workshop, here’s a brief explanation:
A developer goes to the Department of City Planning to have their development request certified. If all the developer’s paper work has been filed and the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is complete, DCP basically has to certify the request. It’s not so much an approval of the request, so much as one step in the chain. It also “starts the clock” on this ULURP request. Each step after certification has an associated time window.

Official NYC.gov ULURP chart. Click to view complete PDF at nyc.gov.

What’s the next step?
After DCP certification, the request moves into the hands of the Community Board. In our case, Brooklyn’s CB1. They have 60 days to notify the public, hold a public hearing and submit a recommendation to the City Planning Commission and the Borough President. Let me stress — CB1 is submitting only an advisory recommendation. A recommendation based on community input gathered at the CB1 meeting.

The community board meeting to discuss all of this will be held on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at the Automotive High School, 50 Bedford Ave., starting at 6:30pm.

Be there. Be there early. Plan to be there late. Come informed. Most importantly, come and say what you think about the project’s variances. This is the first of only three opportunities the community has to say what we think on the record. It’s an opportunity to inform our appointed representatives and elected officials on what the community wants. And who knows better than Greenpoint residents what is best for Greenpoint — developers? City agencies? The Mayor? Right, that’s what I thought.

What are the Greenpoint Landing requests?
Very glad you asked, because most importantly the request is NOT a request for approval to build. Greenpoint Landing already has the right to build. This particular ULURP action revolves around a very specific part of the Greenpoint Landing Development. You can read about the ULURP’s specific requests in our post: “Community Workshop Follow-up: Let’s Discuss Greenpoint Waterfront Developments.

Really, don’t just look at the map below, go read the whole post. It’s helpful, I promise.

Click to enlarge map. Showing NBP Expansion and Greenpoint Landing areas. (PDF)

Wait a minute, what about 77 Commercial St.?
Usually when we talk about Greenpoint Landing, we also throw in the variances for 77 Commercial St. They are two completely separate projects, but are often discussed at the same time because they both impact the waterfront and are coming up through ULURP at the same time. The requests for 77 Commercial St. will be discussed at the meeting on August 13th August 20th (6:30pm, Automotive HS) if they are certified before then. I’m unaware if they have officially been certified by DCP yet.

I have a lot of strong feelings about this, what should I do?
Completely understandable, this is a very important issue. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Write to us. GWAPP is both collecting resident’s opinions on the developments’ requests to create our own community-informed position, and acting as a forum for residents’ concerns by posting them (with permission) on the GWAPP site for us all to discuss. You can leave your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this page, or e-mail us directly at info@gwapp.org.
  2. Contact your Councilman, Steve Levin. CM Levin will represent us if and when the ULURP request moves to the City Council. Being that this development is happening in CM Levin’s district, other council members may look to him on how to vote, and that’s why it’s EXTRA important that he understands the Greenpoint communities’ wants, demands and concerns, so that he can most effectively represent us. His contact information: 718-875-5200, slevin@council.nyc.gov, and @StephenLevin33 on Twitter. Or write him at: 114 Court Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
  3. Show up to the August 13th Community Board meeting and voice your concerns.

As always, please leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

Heather Van De Mark

Heather Van De Mark

Heather is a designer/writer specializing in non-profit organizations and social causes. Originally from central NY, Heather settled into the charming Greenpoint neighborhood in 2011. While most of her community activism takes place from behind a computer screen, Heather can often be found at CB1 meetings, the McCarren Park track and any of the parks along the waterfront.
  • Michael B commented:

    I like Greenpoint as it is, and don’t want this mega-development. It will take the waterfront away from the public, and permanently change the dynamic of my neighborhood. One of the best things about Greenpoint is it’s quaintness. Please help keep these power-brokers out of my hood.


    • Keith S commented:

      Newtown Creek is NOT the riverfront and has no business supporting 40 story towers. North Greenpoint is a peninsula with limited open space. We do not have the infrastructure to facilitate the over-development that is planned. The Environmental Impact Statement for the 2005 rezoning plan (which was drawn up a decade ago) has completely underestimated the growth of our neighborhood and what our needs as a community are. After 100’s of years of not having access to the waterfront in Greenpoint, it’s a travesty that the city has approved a plan to drop 40 story towers on our doorstep (and increase our population almost 50%!) instead of utilizing the land in a way that can bring the neighborhood and community closer. To use “affordable housing” as the talking point-trump card as a reason is shameful. Yes, we could use more affordable housing. Is this the only way to accomplish it? NO! Please get involved. Speak your mind August 13th and demand that this obscenely over-sized development be scaled down!


  • Peter Spagnuolo commented:

    ULURP has scheduled this important hearing for 13 August–a time when many working families are either trying to manage long-planned family vacation time out of the city, or when children are on school break, requiring activity and baby-sitting arrangements by day, making a night meeting an added expense to the household. Clearly, ULURP has picked such a date in expectation that it will suppress public attendance, and minimize the input from the community.

    I urge all community members to call, email and write to ULURP today, requesting an immediate adjournment of the 13 August public hearing date, re-scheduling it for a date after the summer holidays are over. ULURP’s mission is supposed to embrace transparency and public accountability, but scheduling such an important meeting when many families would have difficulties attending is simply unacceptable.


  • Kim Masson commented:

    Fighting for our right to river access, sunlight and less bulkheads is just the tip of the iceberg. There evidence of harmful ground contamination on these proposed sights and the city is relying on a ten year old Environmental Impact Statement which hasn’t even gotten past Phase 1 of hazardous material testing. This is unacceptable. We must demand that the DEC do their due diligence and authorize soil samples from all of these proposed sights before developers start excavation. Proposed parks, a new school, affordable housing? None of it will matter if petrochemicals, heavy metals and VOCs they dig up leech into our air and groundwater. Let’s not repeat what happened in the Bronx where the community was forced to sue the city for it’s lack environmental oversight after they built a public school on one the most toxic parts of a land remediation project. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/state-highest-court-city-didn-inform-community-article-1.1193227

    Greenpoint has already bares the brunt of historic over-industrialization, a Superfund site, and 19 waste transfer units, let’s not add over-development on toxic land to that list.

    It is vital that Greenpoint residents show up to the ULURP meeting and demand that our voices and concerns be met. Yet I am dismayed by the city’s blatant disregard for our community. As Peter S. mentioned above, scheduling an important meeting in the middle of summer where most people will be on vacation smacks with the city’s indifference to our voices. A realistic timetable must be proposed if we are to work together as the ULURP process intended. Let’s band together people. Make our voices known!


  • Heather Van De Mark

    Heather Van De Mark commented:

    Thank you so much for telling us what you think Michael, Keith, Peter and Kim! Please continue to comment and invite your neighbors and friends to comment as well. I’ve forwarded your thoughts to the GWAPP/NAG group who helped put together the ULURP event in June. And we’ll be following up the best we can here on the website.


  • SAVE THE DATE: PUBLIC HEARING ON GREENPOINT LANDING (8/13) | Greenpointers commented:

    […] ULURP process has begun for the impending Greenpoint Landing development on the Greenpoint waterfront, which […]


  • MARK YOUR CALENDARS: ULURP Hearing Regarding Greenpoint Landing & ??? : newyorkshitty.com commented:

    […] has pretty good, easily understandable synopsis of the progress of this endeavor. Please give it a read, show up and speak […]