On Monday, the de Blasio administration agreed to extend for a second time the due date for submitting comments on an important document related to its proposed rezoning of Inwood. Comments are now due on Friday October 13 at 5 p.m.
That gives community members and the community board additional time—though not quite as much time as the board asked for—to review and discuss the draft scope of work, a document which provides detail about the rezoning as well as outlines the methodology that will be used to assess the project’s potential environmental effects. The extension can be viewed as an act of diplomacy on the part of the de Blasio administration regarding a proposal that has been controversial in the community.
According to a letter sent by Hilary Semel, an assistant to the mayor, to the chair of community board 12, the comments were originally due on Monday, September 25. That deadline was earlier extended to September 29 following a request from the community board, which wanted time to meet as a full board on Tuesday September 26 and craft a single resolution.
The board did not end up submitting a resolution last Tuesday, but on Friday September 29 asked for another extension until October 31 to give it more time to collect public comment and respond with a single resolution. According to listserv e-mails, members of the coalition Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale also wanted an extension of the deadline.
In her letter, Semel noted that it’s not necessary for the board to come up with a single resolution and that stakeholders’ comments are supposed to be limited to issues of environmental review (and not assess the rezoning itself). That said, the mayor’s office acknowledged that the scope “requires significant time to review and prepare thoughtful comments” and so was granting an extra two weeks. She said that the Department of City Planning has already received over 100 comments in written and oral form since August 11.
Comments can be sent or e-mailed to the following person:
Esther Brunner, Deputy Director
Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination
253 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Read Semel’s letter yourself: