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Willets Pt. affects city, not only CB 7

An open letter to Community Board 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty Jr.:

The Willets Point proposal would involve the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars to be borne by city taxpayers, not just those in Community Board 7. The use of eminent domain to take private property and turn it over to a private, for-profit real estate developer, albeit one who would not be identified until after a variance is given, raises citywide implications, not just those limited to CB 7.

The dislocation of over 1,300 employees and thousands of their dependents is also a citywide matter. The Willets Point proposal is not the same as an owner of a single piece of property in CB 7 who seeks a variance to enlarge his or her home. The scope and implications of the proposal involve city residents and taxpayers, who have a stake in this matter and whose voices must be heard.

It follows that in deciding the issues of a community board vote of 21-15 with six abstentions — hardly a mandate — there must be complete accuracy in what is being reported to the City Planning Commission, which cannot do its job unless in possession of the facts. The CPC is entitled to the respect of accuracy, advised as follows:

The CB 7 Land Use Committee and full membership board voted by the above margin to approve the Willets Point ULURP application with conditions only after being assured by Committee Chairman Chuck Apelian and you, as evidenced by a video tape of the meeting, that a conditional approval would be considered a negative recommendation if the conditions specified by the board were not adopted.

Pursuant to ULURP rules, if a community board intends its conditional approval to be considered a negative recommendation under certain future circumstances, it has the right to do so. As I understand it, the written recommendation submitted by your office to the CPC fails to state that the conditional requirements the board specified must be met and that a failure to adhere to the same represents a rejection of the application.

It is therefore necessary to you issue an amended report and send it to the CPC before the Sept. 24 meeting. So I may be assured no further action with regard to the same be required, please send me a copy of your amended report.

Benjamin M. Haber


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