Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gansevoort Redux

In today's NY Times, the paper reports on the press conference held by State Senator Carl Kruger on the plans to redevelop Coney Island. Kruger warned that any plan would have to be subjected to a full state environmental review-before any alienation of the parkland could go forward. As the NY Post writes today: "Kruger produced an advisory opinion from the state Department of Environmental Conservation saying its signoff is required prior to any request made to Albany to engage in land swaps involving parks."

If it feels like deja vu, then you're recalling the fight over the recycling center on the West Side, the one that the city lost because state electeds wouldn't approve of the alienation of the Hudson River parkland. As the Times points out, the intervention of the DEC could well delay this disposition process for a year or more: "The advisory opinion, issued Nov. 30, does not address the Coney Island plan directly, but contends that an environmental impact review, a process that could take a year or more, is required for any change in public parkland to non park use, and must be completed before state approval is sought."

As we pointed out yesterday, and as the Times reiterates today, this throws down the gauntlet to the new deputy mayor for economic development: "It is likely to present Robert C. Lieber, the mayor’s new deputy mayor of economic development, with one of his first big challenges as he takes office on Jan. 8. He has already been deeply involved in the Coney Island proposal in his current position as head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation."

What this means is that the city will have to tread cautiously over the redevelopment of the area, much more so then if just the city council was involved; the state legislature has been much less a junior partner of the mayor than the city's legislature. So, as long as Kruger and others are in his corner, Joe Sitt may very well be sitting pretty.