There’s no question that the East Side will be getting shafted—it’s just a question of where and for how long.
The Department of Environmental Protection, along with the Department of Design and Construction, is currently scoping out sites for the location of Shaft 33B, the latest infrastructure project for the long-awaited
Community Board 6, in response to these worries, passed a resolution last Wednesday that objected to the selection of any location for Shaft 33B by the D.E.P. “without a consolidated presentation of both the proposed location of 33B and the complete routing plans of the associated
At a public hearing on Dec. 5 at the High School of Art and Design, nearly a thousand people packed the auditorium to oppose the D.E.P. plan, and the board’s resolution is another salvo in the ongoing contretemps that threatens to disrupt the project. At the heart of the matter isn’t so much the location of the shaft (although some people are opposed to that), but rather the location of the
The D.E.P. is responsible for the location, design and construction of both the
“We’re opposed to it because they will not tell us the
State Assemblyman Jonathan Bing has been working with the East 50’s Neighborhood Coalition to demand answers from the D.E.P. and the D.D.C. “Right now, the big issue is trying to make sure the entire project—both the
According to the D.E.P., excavation of Shaft 33B could begin as early as the spring of next year and would continue until 2010. Construction of the
The D.E.P. has released a draft version of the environmental-impact statement for Shaft 33B, and comments were accepted until Dec. 22. The department will now finalize the environmental-impact statement, and responses to comments will be incorporated into the final document.
Ms. Saputelli told The Observer that she is currently contacting elected officials with her group’s concerns to force the D.E.P. and the D.D.C. to open up their selection process for
And she has support. “If the D.E.P. does not adequately provide information to the community about why this site has been chosen and why other sites weren’t chosen—and, more specifically, how the
Calls to the D.D.C. were referred to the D.E.P. Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the D.E.P., said: “We’ve been very open to the with the community and Community Board 6. We’re not concealing any information from them …. We’ve done more outreach on this site than any other shaft site related to
Downtown Barhoppers Beware
In its ongoing battle to curb bar noise and the proliferation of nightclubs within its district, Community Board 3, on Dec. 20, passed a resolution supporting Assemblywoman Deborah Glick’s Dec. 12 letter to Governor George Pataki requesting that the recently vacated commissioner’s position in the State Liquor Authority be filled by a New York City resident.
In November 2005, S.L.A. chairman Edward F. Kelly announced his retirement after a decade with the authority, shortly after State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer began an investigation into pricing practices in the state liquor industry. A week before, Mr. Pataki had announced the creation of a chief executive post with the S.L.A. to run its day-to-day operations.
A spokesperson for the Governor wouldn’t comment on the selection of the new commissioner, saying only that “the Governor always looks for the most qualified and capable individuals when making appointments.” Joshua Toas, a former Assistant Secretary of State and Assistant Counsel to the Governor (and frequent contributor to Mr. Pataki’s campaign fund), was appointed to the chief executive position of the S.L.A. shortly after it was created.
Critics of the S.L.A. have long said that the authority ignores community input when granting new liquor licenses in New York City, especially in the bar-saturated neighborhoods of the East and West Village and Chelsea. The three neighborhoods have the greatest number of liquor licenses in the city (3,055, 1,866 and 944, respectively), according to a 2005 report prepared by the office of then–City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.
Because the commissioners of the S.L.A. all live outside the city, critics contend that the S.L.A. is unaware of the acute noise problems and disruption to the community that this proliferation of bars causes. Lately, Board 3 conducted a public hearing to discuss the feasibility of converting Avenue B into a one-way street. Proponents contend that the change would ameliorate traffic noise on the busy weekend nights, but others are concerned that it would irrevocably alter the character of the neighborhood. Other groups have called for a complete moratorium on new liquor licenses for certain neighborhoods in the city.
“We are looking for greater sensitivity from the S.L.A. regarding the impact of granting the large number of licenses in a concentrated area,” Ms. Glick told The Observer. “I think that commissioners that infrequently visit the city—who may not come into some of the downtown areas—they may not have a full understanding of how many people live in the area, and in what proximity to these establishments they live.”