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CB12 Approves Revised Sherman Plaza Plan Without Alerting Residents

By  Carolina Pichardo and Gwynne Hogan | May 25, 2016 5:12pm 

 Residents are outraged over controversial resolution Tuesday night by Community Board 12.
Residents are outraged over controversial resolution Tuesday night by Community Board 12.
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DNAinfo/Carolina Pichardo

INWOOD — Locals are outraged after the community board rushed through a resolution approving the controversial revised plans for Sherman Plaza high-rise Tuesday night — despite the fact that they never included the vote on its public agenda.

The resolution, which supports the revised Sherman Plaza project slated for 4650 Broadway, was drafted and passed quickly Tuesday night at the Community Board 12 general meeting, a day after after a heated Town Hall meeting and City Planning Commission hearing in which dozens of residents demanded that more be done to decrease the number of stories and conduct an environmental study.

CB12 chair Shah Ally said at Tuesday night's meeting that although the board submitted a resolution opposing the original application in March, the board needed to get something else on record to reflect their stance on the developer’s most recent application change  — even though they acknowledged there wasn't enough time to tell the public.

“The new resolution is consistent with the concerns we heard [at the Town Hall] Monday night,” Ally told DNAinfo New York, adding CB12 didn't have time to notify the community because they only learned that developers had agreed to shrink the planned building from 23 to 17 stories on Monday, and the City Planning Commission hearing on the revised plans was on Wednesday.

“When things are proposed on a compressed timeline, we have to act on a compressed timeline,” Ally said. “If we didn’t submit something for [the City Planning Commission], we would’ve missed our chance.”

Developers submitted their original plan to build a 23-story building with units reserved for those making 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) — or $62,150 per year for a family of three — in March, but later amended after CB12 voted down that version. 

Developers put forward a revised plan in advance of Monday's Town Hall meeting called by Borough Presient Gale Brewer and City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez in which they proposed to build a smaller, more affordable building with 17 stories and units set aside for those making 40 percent of AMI — or $31,080 for a family of three.

On Monday, Brewer and Rodriguez said they were urging developers to build even shorter — 15 stories.

Developers then put forward a third revision in which they agreed to the 15-story cap, and set aside half of the total units as affordable, 20 percent of them at 40 percent AMI and the remaining 30 percent at an average of 80 percent AMI, according to CB12. The 80 percent AMI units might not be permanently affordable, developers said at the City Planning Commission hearing Tuesday.


Paul Travis, of Washington Square Partners, said during the CPC hearing Tuesday that the company's revised goal was to make 178 of the 355 planned units affordable.

Brewer said during Wednesday's hearing that the developer was working with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to ensure the project — the first single development to move forward under Mayor Bill de Blasio's controversial Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rezoning change — goes smoothly.

“This is the first MIH and that makes it really important that it be done correctly," Brewer said.

But Jennifer Fox, who spoke at the Town Hall, said in an email to DNAinfo that residents were "pi--ed off" about the community board vote and said they should have done more to inform the public.

“It is also very curious that no mention was made at the Town Hall that the community board would be voting on the matter the next night,” Fox said. “This turn of events seems very disrespectful of the community." 

The City Planning Commission scheduled a hearing Wednesday morning to discuss the latest application, including the new CB 12 resolution, which Ally said he signed and arranged to be personally delivered for the hearing.