Rail Yards Update: Get Ready!
February 27, 2009
Don't miss your chance to show your support for the High Line at the most important public hearing since 2005.
UPDATE: This hearing is scheduled for March 31 at 9:30 AM. Read More.
In the next few weeks, the City Council will hold a public hearing regarding its vote on the Eastern Rail Yards zoning text amendments. The hearing, the City Council's first ever on the rail yards, will be a rare opportunity to show the Council how much public support there is for preserving the High Line at the rail yards. It is essential that we make a strong showing at this hearing.
If you want to recieve more information about this hearing, and to get regular updates about our rail yards advocacy, please email email@example.com.
What we're asking for: We want the City of New York to take ownership of the High Line at the rail yards. This ownership transfer would happen in the same way it did on the rest of the High Line in 2005, with CSX Transportation, the private railroad company, donating the structure to the City for use as a public open space. City ownership would go a long way towards guaranteeing the High Line's permanent preservation, including the spur.
Why Now? The public review process for the rail yards development is underway. Despite the economic downturn, the developers are moving forward with the public approvals so that when the economy improves they will be ready to begin building. So now, during this public review process, is the time for the City to act on the High Line. City acquisition of the High Line must take place now, before development on the rail yards is given the green light.
Background: The public review process for the rail yards sites is a multi-step process. The Eastern Rail Yards text amendments were reviewed by Community Board 4 and the Borough President in December, and are now being reviewed by the City Planning Commission. The City Planning Commission will soon vote on these amendments, after which they will go to the City Council for a final vote. The current amendments do not address the preservation of the High Line, so the City Council hearing is an important opportunity to advocate for the High Line. Both CB4 and the Manhattan Borough President have made High Line preservation a priority, with CB4 urging additional text amendments to make that happen.
Later this spring, the public review process for the rezoning of the Western Rail Yards will begin. This site currently has no zoning, so the process will be more extensive than at the Eastern Rail Yards. It is during this process, scheduled for May, that the provisions necessary to allow the High Line's ownership transfer could be implemented. In the meantime, it is crucial that we seize on every public input opportunity to make the High Line a priority for the City. The upcoming City Council hearing will be pivotal; we must show the City that the community supports the High Line.
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