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Madison Square Garden's Permanent Renewal Opposed by Community Board

By Alan Neuhauser | February 15, 2013 10:18am

MIDTOWN — Madison Square Garden’s bid to permanently renew an expired permit that allows it to operate as a high-capacity arena got the thumbs-down from Manhattan’s Community Board 5 Thursday night.

CB5 instead recommended at its full board meeting to approve a 10-year permit for MSG, giving the community time to develop plans to relocate "The World’s Most Famous Arena." Members want the arena to move in order to give room to expand the overcrowded Penn Station below.

"The committee thought that rather than granting the Garden a renewal in perpetuity, we thought we should create a planning period — a 10-year planning period …to find a better location for Madison Square Garden,” Raju Mann, acting chairman of the board’s land-use committee, explained Thursday night.

“We don’t have a world-class arena, frankly, and we don’t have a world-class [train] station. And we should have both.”

CB5 also voted to reject MSG's plan to install four 10-story LED signs around the exterior of the building, calling on the city to oppose the proposed LED signs by arguing they would negatively affect nearby residents. They said the signs would confuse tourists into believing that Penn Station's Eighth Avenue entrance was instead an entrance to the arena.

In addition, the proposed electronic signs are "are totally inappapropriate" and "quite bright," Mann said.

The CB5 recommendation will next go before the borough president, who has 30 days to weigh in, and then to the city planning commission, before going officially before the City Council.