By Tatiana Baez
The city is facing costly criticism for its recent approval of New York University’s expansion plan, dubbed NYU 2031. Eleven groups and several individuals opposing the development filed a lawsuit against the City Planning Commission and the City Council. The lawsuit was filed Sept. 24 in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Here are the basics of what you need to know about the expansion plan and the lawsuit:
1. The plaintiffs on the lawsuit include NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan; the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; the Historic Districts Council; the Washington Square Village Tenants’ Association; the East Village Community Coalition; Friends of Petrosino Square; LaGuardia Corner Gardens Inc.; the Lower Manhattan Neighbors Organization; SoHo Alliance; the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors; and the NoHo Neighborhood Association; as well as 11 individuals.
2. The lawsuit states that the plan involves an illegal use of public land.
3. The lawsuit also claims that city residents were not given an opportunity to voice their concerns in a public forum until after the plan was finalized and approved.
4. “GVSHP is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit because we believe that the NYU plan would have a profoundly negative impact upon our neighborhood, eliminating much-needed open space, shoehorning 2 million square feet of facilities into an area already oversaturated with NYU facilities, and turning a residential neighborhood into a 20-year construction zone,” said Andrew Berman, executive director for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
5. GVSHP believes that NYU is overturning the terms under which NYU was given the public land in the 1960s.
6. According to NYU spokesperson John Beckman, NYU 2031 seeks to construct new academic facilities, student dormitories and faculty housing.
7. Several professors are opposed to the plan and have united against NYU 2031. In a previous statement, Tejaswini Ganti, a professor at NYU, said that the Department of Anthropology “has voted unanimously to express [their] concerns regarding the NYU 2031 plan for expansion on the ‘superblocks’ between West Third and Houston streets.”
8. According to Ganti, one of the problems with NYU 2031 is the lack of “adequate or genuine consultation with the faculty regarding the rationale for the plan, the logic of expansion, its location and design, and the health and environmental consequences of an anticipated 20 years of construction.”
9. Opponents of the plan worry about the creation of an “irreparable rift with [the NYU] community neighbors given the plan’s anticipated rezoning for commercial development and the reduction of public green space in this high-density residential area,” said Ganti.
10. NYU and the plan’s organizers responded to claims made in the lawsuit by saying that public concerns were taken into consideration before designing the plan. “The City Planning Commission and City Council overwhelmingly approved NYU’s proposal after holding extensive public hearings and engaging in a thorough and rigorous public review process as required by law,” said Beckman.
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