The Two Bridges community met again on Wednesday with developers JDS, L+M Development Partners, CIM Group, and Starrett to discuss community concerns over the four 700-foot plus towers poised to rise on the neighborhood’s waterfront. The meeting is the second of four before April’s public scoping meeting during which preparation of the developments’ joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will begin.
The idea behind the meeting was to elicit community concerns through breakout groups, but an orchestrated coup of the soapbox by several community members made clear that Two Bridges has concerns beyond what the EIS will address. Attendees read a communal statement expressing their concern and asked to delay the scoping meeting, poised to take place in April, to allow the community more time to vet the impacts of the development.
“We go to our politicians and we ask you to help us and you know what we hear? ‘There’s nothing we can do,’” one community member said, speaking to already-stymied attempts to slow down the scoping process. Neighborhood resident Ozzie Hernandez said the whole exercise of soliciting feedback for issues that the community believes the developers have already decided on reminds him of “a lamb being led to the slaughter.”
After a dozen minutes of uproar in the auditorium, a lawyer for the developers approached the mic to note that his clients are “at the beginning of the process, with three additional meetings that don’t [usually] take place” in EIS studies. Those include the December meeting to introduce the projects to the community—just imagine how that went—and three additional meetings to familiarize community members with the EIS process and elicit their concerns. (In addition to hosting the community input meetings, the developers have also provided lovely sandwich trays.)
“I don’t think this huge group is here because you think this is an example of great urban planning,” Senator Daniel Squadron, in attendance, took to the mic to say. “These sites were originally for urban renewal. They’re for building up neighborhoods, not for tearing them down.”
About half of the people in attendance stayed at the meeting to participate in the breakout groups after the uproar, where community members were able to continue to voice their concerns about how the developments would affect everything from the neighborhood’s foundation to secondary displacement.
The third meeting is poised to take place in March, where select EIS topics will be presented for review.
- Two Bridges residents voice anxieties over spate of new skyscrapers [Curbed]
- JDS Unveils Plans For a Gigantic 77-Story Lower East Side Tower [Curbed]
- Two more 700-foot towers coming to Lower East Side waterfront [Curbed]