Development and Public Advocate candidate Norman Siegel
The Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance met with Public Advocate candidate Norman Siegel yesterday. Although we are non-partisan and do not support or oppose candidates, we feel his reaction to our concerns and the statement he issued are so important that they should be widely shared. The statement is below:
Statement On Preservation and Development, Norman Siegel Candidate for Public Advocate
It is often said that New York City is a city of neighborhoods. I am a native New Yorker who grew up in Brooklyn. I know that when we are asked where we are from, we New Yorkers are just as likely to answer that we come from New York City as we are to answer with the particular borough or neighborhood that we grew up in.
I support the mission of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance. Our quality of life as New Yorkers can indeed be improved by, “promoting the preservation of neighborhood character, instituting smart planning initiatives and improving how City policy is made and the performance of its agencies.”
The Alliance has identified a number of problems associated with over development, careless development, or development which is simply not attuned to the surrounding community. If there is a common resolution to these problems, it is that responsive and appropriate oversight by New York City agencies can ensure that development can proceed
responsibly. I believe that the Public Advocate’s office should be the vehicle to achieve oversight and accountability in City government. I would be prepared to challenge City agencies where the agencies failed to provide sufficient transparency into their decision-making process, or failed to stop development which is ill advised or irresponsible.
As Public Advocate I would work with the Alliance in the following areas among others:
1. Transparency: Development decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. Responsible development calls for an open process of community review and input.
2. Development Attuned to its Surroundings: Development should be consistent with the neighborhood’s character and with the scope, scale and architecture of existing buildings.
3. Preservation: Buildings with historic, architectural, or cultural significance need to be better identified and, whenever practically possible, preserved.
4. Building Quality and Safety: Union labor should be used to ensure code and safety compliance and to avoid sub standard workmanship.
5. Code Enforcement: The Buildings Department must enforce the building code as written. Serious violations must be resolved or cured within the time frame mandated by law.
6 Waterfront Development: Waterfront development should not hamper access to the waterfront by the public. Any new buildings along the waterfront should be low-rise buildings and not impede sightlines to the shore.