City may delay progress at Governors Island

August 04, 2010 12:00PM

Douglas Durst and Governors Island

Now that developer Douglas Durst’s plan to build a $100 Ferris wheel on Governors Island has been shelved, the future of the 172-acre space remains uncertain, the Observer reported. Since the city took over the formerly state-controlled space, the island will undergo a seven-month rezoning process, which in turn must follow the creation of a giant environmental impact statement, which can take years to create. In the meantime, no permanent commercial development can be permitted. The zoning process “may present obstacles for proposals that didn’t fit within the current zoning,” said Ken Fisher, a land-use attorney who chairs the nonprofit advocacy group Governors Island Alliance, but “in the long run, it may turn out to be beneficial,” he said. The Bloomberg administration contends that whatever uncertainty the zoning may cause pales in comparison to that of the prior structure of shared governance. The state wrote funding out of the budget for the island, designs sat on a shelf, shutdown plans were drawn up and there was little forward thinking. “Things were happening on the island in terms of programming, but nothing was happening in terms of our ability to deliver more certainty to the development community,” said Leslie Koch, president of the city-controlled Trust for Governors Island. [NYO]