Preservationists criticize recent Pier 40 air rights law

June 25, 2013 03:00PM

Local preservationists slammed a New York state law that permits the trust for Hudson River Park to sell development rights as far as one block east of park boundaries to pay for repairs at its Pier 40.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Save Chelsea, Council of Chelsea Block Associations and the Greenwich Village Community Task Force wrote a letter to state lawmakers criticizing the apparent lack of information about the potential impact of the resulting development.

“This will have the effect of increasing by hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of square feet the development potential in our neighborhoods on blocks along the entire length of the Hudson River Park,” the letter said.

The groups sent the letter to state Assembly members Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the bill, and state Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents the area. The Assembly passed the bill on Thursday and the state Senate passed it early Saturday morning, according to published reports.

The law paves the way for additional commercial uses at Pier 40 and at other areas in the park. Developers could also construct schools and amusement park rides, as previously reported. Selling the development rights would help pay for over $100 million in repairs for the crumbling pier.

The neighborhood groups charged that no analysis has publicized the full scope of development rights at play, where they could be used, and how much could be used in certain locations. —Zachary Kussin