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Affordable Housing Groups Jump Into NYU Expansion Battle

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Since affordable housing advocates don't have enough battles of their own, several groups decided that they need to be part of the never-ending saga involving New York University's expansion plan—which, by the way, is still held up in the courts. DNAinfo reports that the groups have no stake in the expansion and "they take no position" on the controversial development, but they filed a legal brief voicing their opposition to a decision made by state judge Donna Mills last year. Mills ruled that four chunks of land where NYU plans to build are "implied park land," and therefore, NYU needed special permission from the state to take over the land, delighting NYU's opponents. So why do affordable housing groups care about parkland decisions?

The groups—Phipps Houses, the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, and the New York Housing Conference—are speaking out against the ruling because the De Blasio administration plans to build affordable housing on dozens of community gardens, and Mills's decision could set a precedent making this very difficult. According to DNAinfo, in the brief, the groups argue that the decision would "privilege park purposes over other equally important city purposes, including providing affordable housing" and would lead to "a calamity, politically, socially and recreationally, and in terms of long-term city development and planning."

Mills's decision was already overturned by an appellate court, which found that the three parcels—Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens—are in fact, not parkland. But the opponents filed an appeal, so the battle rages on. The issue will go before the Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, in the coming weeks. Will affordable housing or green space come out on top?
· Judge Halts NYU Expansion, Says State Approval Is Needed [Curbed]
· NYU Scores Victory in Long-Fought Legal Battle To Expand [Curbed]
· Affordable Housing May Replace Dozens of Community Gardens [Curbed]