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Changes to Sherman Plaza High-Rise Plan Up for Public Discussion Monday

 Acadia Sherman Plaza, LLC and Washington Square Partners said they are now looking to build lower and with more affordability.
Acadia Sherman Plaza, LLC and Washington Square Partners said they are now looking to build lower and with more affordability.
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Department of City Planning

INWOOD — Changes to a controversial proposed high-rise apartment building on Sherman Avenue and Broadway that was panned as "atrocious" by the community will be up for public discussion at a town hall meeting Monday night.

The event, organized by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood at 54 Nagle Ave. in Inwood.

The meeting comes on the same day as the City Planning Commission is holding a "pre-hearing" at their offices at 22 Reade Street in Lower Manhattan. That hearing is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. Monday. The City Planning Commission is also scheduled to have a hearing on the development on Wednesday.

A date for a vote on the development has not yet been scheduled, city officials said.

Developers Washington Square Partners and Acadia's original plans for the 4650 Broadway project site  — which were voted down by Community Board 12 in March after community backlash — included a 23-story building with 372 rent-stabilized apartments. Under that proposal, a total of 112 units would be permanently affordable to people making 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) of $62,150 per year for a family of three. 

Neighbors blasted the plan, which is the first individual project to be built under Mayor Bill de Blasio's controversial Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rezoning, saying the "affordable" income requirement didn't match with those in the area and that there was no environmental impact study to see what effect the building would have on neighboring Fort Tryon Park.

The new plan shrinks the proposed building to “17 stories maximum” with 355 apartments. The new plan also lowers the threshold for affordable units to those making 40 percent of of the AMI, or approximately $31,080 for a family of three, for approximately 71 permanently affordable units.

Developers are committed to building "more than the minimum," they said. 

“After the community board issued its resolution and we started meeting with the [Manhattan Borough President] and City Planning, we all thought let’s see if there’s a way to respond to the comments the neighborhood has made. I hope they feel we have answered what they asked,” said Paul Travis, managing partner at Washington Square Partners.

Because the changes made to the application fall within the scope of the project, they do not need to restart the process and apply again with the Department of City Planning, Travis said.     

Residents, however, said they're still concerned with the negative impact the Sherman Plaza project could have on the community, especially Fort Tryon Park, which sits across the street from the site. 

"Reasonable people can and do disagree on just how negative the impacts may be, or whether there are benefits of development which outweigh its impacts, but the idea that there are NO negative impacts is, frankly, ridiculous," Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, president of the Hudson Heights Owners Coalition, wrote in an email.

"[The Department of City Planning] and the Planning Commission should have conducted, or ordered Acadia to conduct, a full environmental impact statement before certifying this project."

Ritter said she and several other residents filed a petition last week against the developers, the Department of City Planning, the City Planning Commission and the city itself for failing to prepare "a full environmental impact statement."

"This development as currently proposed threatens not just a landmarked view but the character of a diverse residential neighborhood and the public's enjoyment of a treasured public amenity," Ritter said.