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Parents, Officials Want Hudson Yards Considered in School Rezoning

By Mathew Katz | October 12, 2011 3:23pm
Community Board 4 Chair Corey Johnson said it was
Community Board 4 Chair Corey Johnson said it was "crazy" not to consider Hudson Yards in the District 2 rezoning proposals.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — The Hudson Yards redevelopment project will bring about 13,000 new housing units to Manhattan's far West Side, but some are concerned that a proposal to rezone the area's school district doesn't take the potential influx of new students into account.

The 13-acre Hudson Yards is currently the largest piece of undeveloped land in Manhattan. The city and developers hope to turn it into a hub of office buildings, hotels, skyscrapers and apartments by 2015.

The project stretches roughly from West 30th Street to West 42nd Street, west of Eighth Avenue, and the MTA recently began the final phase of a project that will extend the 7 train to the area.

"With all the development in Western Chelsea and Hudson Yards, it seems just crazy to not look at that and take that into consideration," said Community Board 4 chair Corey Johnson at a rezoning public input session put on by the District 2 Community Education Council.

The part of the project that falls within District 2, below West 34th Street, is currently zoned for P.S. 33.

The Department of Education's unpopular rezoning proposal would increase the size of that zone, adding in a section of Chelsea between West 23rd and West 26th Streets, including the Penn South co-op apartments which are currently zoned for P.S. 11.

"My daughter is now two," said Pete Hayes, who lives in Penn South, within the proposed expansion zone. "We moved into our building so she could go to P.S. 11. Now P.S. 33 is going to be overcrowded, especially with the introduction of Hudson Yards."

While DOE numbers show that P.S. 33 is at 82 percent capacity, some parents were concerned that the school felt overcrowded, and that students coming in from both Penn South and Hudson Yards would make that even worse.

"If the children from [P.S. 33] are [facing challenges], the school should not increase in size, because they need those lower class sizes," said Patrice Duffy-Jacobson, an educator who lives in P.S. 33's zone, referring to the school's larger class sizes and low test scores.

"It's way too early to talk about how Hudson Yards might impact PS 33's zone," wrote District 2 Community Education Council member Michael Markowitz in an email. "Better we direct the community conversation to what will be built, and how many school seats will be built with it."

It is possible that even if the rezoning is approved, the process could be repeated before Hudson Yards is completed.

The project plans currently include a 750-seat public school, though it's unclear if that will fall within District 2, or if the School Construction Authority would be able to complete it by the time many of the area's residential buildings open.

Parents at Tuesday night's meeting were also concerned that the district would have to undergo another rezoning after that school opens.

Both the Department of Education and the Hudson Yards Development Corporation did not respond to requests for comment.