Wednesday, February 22, 2006

2/22/6, the Sun: "Commission Expected To Give Yankees Go-Ahead for Stadium"

Publication: The New York Sun;
Date:Feb 22, 2006;
Section:New York;

Commission Expected To Give Yankees Go-Ahead for Stadium
By DAVID LOMBINO Staff Reporter of the Sun

The city's Planning Commission is expected to give the green
light today to the Yankees' application for a new stadium, but
neighborhood advocates and urban planners say that the city's
land-use process has served as little more than a rubber stamp for a
project backed by the mayor.

As part of the city's land-use approval process, the application
was under review by the Planning Commission for about six weeks, but
it has not significantly changed, according to one city official.

The proposal to build a 51,800-seat stadium on a site next door
to the existing stadium, displacing about 22 acres of parks, was
rejected by the local Community Board 4 in an advisory vote late last year.

A member of the community board and an urban planner by trade,
Lukas Herbert, said yesterday that the city has failed to address
neighborhood concerns about lack of community input, the quality of
28 acres of replacement parks, the location of the parking
structures, public transportation alternatives, declining property
values, and health effects.

"This thing is being pushed though as quickly as possible and
that should not be the case with a project of this size," Mr. Herbert
said. "There has been no holistic examination of what it is doing to
the neighborhood, and it could really mess up years of progress."

The state Legislature and the City Council have already approved
the transfer of parkland to the Yankees.

Supporters of the new stadium, who include Mayor Bloomberg and
the president of the Bronx, Adolfo Carrion, say the project will
create jobs and revitalize one of the poorest neighborhoods in the
city. The Yankees say the new stadium will constitute the largest
private investment in Bronx history.

Dozens of opponents and supporters attended a public hearing at
the Planning Commission about the project on January 11 that lasted
late into the afternoon.

Yesterday, the president of the Yankees, Randy Levine, would not
say what changes, if any, had been made recently to the plan and said
the proposal would speak for itself today.

According to earlier statements by team and city officials, some
changes were made to the application before the Planning Commission's
review, including lowering the height of a parking garage and moving
some fields closer to the neighborhood.

A professor of urban planning at Hunter College,Tom Angotti,
said that the city's land-use review process, particularly the review
by the Planning Commission, which contains mayoral appointees, is
flawed in a way that favors projects approved by the mayor.

"They have yet to show any independence as a body when it comes
to thumbs up and thumbs down. They can influence a project and change
a project, and they have done that on occasion," Mr. Angotti said.
"Deals get made in advance with the mayor that make it unlikely they
will go against him."

A planning official said yesterday that commission members had
relayed the concerns expressed by community members to the Yankees
and the Parks Department since the land-use process began in late September.

If approved, the city will spend $135 million to create new
parks and enhance infrastructure, and the state would pay $70 million
for construction of additional parking facilities. The Yankees would
pay about $800 million for the construction costs of the stadium.

If the application is approved today as expected, it still must
be approved by the City Council.


At 8:32 PM, Anonymous bceqpres said...

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the Planning Commission approved the Stadium Project. I was even more saddened to hear the vote was unanimously in favor. It's sadder still because now we realize that our comments fell on deaf ears, i.e. not even one member of the PC empathisized with those most impacted, right? ***icle***


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