Garment District Rezoning: Not So Fast!
In March, representatives from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced plans to introduce zoning changes to the Special Garment Center District in midtown. Their proposals included eliminating zoning regulations that require building owners to preserve space for manufacturing, and providing incentives to encourage manufacturers and designers to relocate to alternative space to Bush Terminal in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood.
Many garment district owners and workers joined with local elected officials and community leaders to express significant reservations about the proposed changes. The Municipal Arts Society conducted a series of surveys between April and July that showed that 98% of garment industry business owners feel that being located in the Garment District is helpful to their business, that only 1% of garment industry workers actually live in Brooklyn, and that 80% of Garment District employees would be unlikely to commute to a new workplace in Sunset Park.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer convened a Garment District Steering Committee, on which I serve, which issued a report on the proposal last month. Recommendations included initiatives to preserve the garment industry hub in midtown and implementing a phase-in period before undertaking any zoning changes.
In response, on August 18 the City announced the postponement of its controversial plan, just days before its formal reviewed by DCP. Any forthcoming proposal to change the zoning requires the proposal will still need to be reviewed by Community Boards 4 and 5, the Borough President's office, the City Planning Commission, and the City Council. The Council can approve, disapprove, or modify any proposed zoning changes. With the economic health of New York City's garment industry in the balance, we must ensure that it con-tinues to operate in a stable, dependable real estate environment. Without guarantees either through zoning or the availability of ample affordable space for garment design and manufacturing businesses, New York City's role as a fashion capital of the world could be at stake.
Saturday, Sept. 24: Recycle Your Electronic Waste at Union Square
From 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 24, the NYS Department of Sanitation is hosting a SAFE (Solvents, Automotive, Flammable, Electronics) Disposal Event on the south side of E. 17th St. between Park Ave. South and Broadway.
Materials accepted free of charge include common household products such as auto fluids, batteries, electronic items, strong cleaners, medications, and paint, among others.
Seniors & New Yorkers with Disabilities Are Getting a Property Tax Break
Thanks to recent changes in State and City law, homeowners with an annual income of $58,399 or less are now eligible to receive the Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemption (SCHE) or the Disabled Homeowners' Exemption (DHE).
A senior homeowner may be able to exempt between 5% and 50% of the assessed value of his or her home from taxation.
If you're already receiving SCHE or DHE, you don't need to take any action! Any increases to your benefit will appear on your January 2018 property tax bill with a credit retroactively applied back to July 1, 2017. If you were previously denied because your income was too high, you need take no action. If your income is now $58,399 or less, the benefit will be applied to your account automatically, beginning with your January 2018 property tax bill with a retroactive credit to July 1, 2017.
If you need more help or have any other questions, don't hesitate to call my office at (212) 807-7900 or stop by during business hours at 214 West 29th Street, #1002.
Fighting "Supertall" Buildings on the Upper West Side
After a surge in the construction of towering luxury buildings in midtown, particularly along the 57th St. corridor, developers are pressing aggressively ahead with plans for "supertall" skyscrapers on the Upper West Side. In our Assembly District, Extell Development has assembled several properties along the south side of West 66th St. between Central Park West and Columbus Ave. Combined, these properties constitute a "footprint" of 15,000 square feet for a future high-rise luxury condominium tower, which Extell's current plans say will reach 25 stories – but Extell refuses to confirm whether those plans are final, or if it is ultimately going to try to erect an even taller building.
At the end of June, I joined other local elected officials in writing to Extell to urge it to "do the right thing and be open and honest with its neighbors, starting today." Nearby, the developer SJP Properties assembled several properties at 200 Amsterdam Ave., intending to build a 668-foot-tall luxury building. Local residents, elected officials, and community organizations, including the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development and Landmark West, challenged permits for the site issued by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB).
In July, DOB issued a "stop work" order for the site and approved a zoning challenge, agreeing that the proposed building's "open space" failed to meet a City zoning regulation governing land use and the size, height, shape, and setback of the building. SJP Properties must now revise its plans.
"Fresh Food for Seniors" Program
With the 2017 return of the "Fresh Food for Seniors" program, senior citizens can buy a bag full of fresh, locally-grown produce for just $8 at senior centers and other participating sites.
From now through November, seniors can sign up to buy a grocery bag full of fresh, locally-grown produce (worth $12) for just $8 twice a month at participating senior centers and buildings in the Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, the Upper West Side, and other neighborhoods in Manhattan. Seniors must register and pay a week in advance of the biweekly pick-up dates for each location listed below.
The program is made possible in our Assembly District by partnerships between the Manhattan Borough President's Office, local City Council Members Corey Johnson and Helen Rosenthal, GrowNYC, the Corbin Hill Food Project, the Doe Fund, the UJA-Federation of New York, and various senior centers and senior residences.
Here is the information for seniors seeking fresh produce at bargain prices in or near the 75th Assembly District:
Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen (in partnership with Council Member Corey Johnson and GrowNYC; delivery dates: September 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 25, Nov. 8)
Sites open to all seniors:
Council Member Corey Johnson's District Office, 224 W. 30th St. (between 7th & 8th Aves.), #1206
Sign up: Mondays and Tuesdays
Pick up: Wednesday the week after signing up
Sites open to senior center members only:
Encore Senior Center, St. Malachy's, The Actors' Chapel, 239 W. 49th St. (between 7th & 8th Aves.)
Hudson Guild NORC, 441 W. 26th St. (between 9th & 10th Aves.)
SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), 305 Seventh Ave. (between 27th & 28th Sts.), 15th Floor
VISIONS Senior Center at Selis Manor, 135 West 23rd St. (between 6th & 7th Aves.)
Penn South Program for Seniors, 290 9th Ave. (between 26th & 27th Sts.)
Upper West Side (in partnership with Council Member Helen Rosenthal and GrowNYC; delivery dates: Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, and Nov. 15)
Sites open to all seniors:
Goddard-Riverside Senior Center, 593 Columbus Ave. at 88th St. (Place orders every other Monday & Tuesday between 1:00 & 3:00 pm for pick-up the following Wednesday)
NCJW Council Lifetime Learning, 241 W. 72nd St. (between Broadway & West End Ave.; please call 646-884-9462 before placing order)
Back to School: How to Register for NYC Public Schools
If your child is already in school and has a classroom seat for the 2017-18 school year, you're all set! But if not, there's still time to register for New York City public schools. To enroll a student in pre-kindergarten, you can request a call from a Pre-K Outreach Team by calling 212-637-8000.
To register a student for elementary or middle school, you should find your zoned school by calling 311 or going on-line to schools.nyc.gov/SchoolSearch. To attend your zoned school, contact your zoned school directly after September 7. If you don't have a zoned school, visit the Family Welcome Center at 333 7th Ave. between 28th and 29th Sts. in Room 1211. It's open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
For students who have completed 8th Grade and are seeking to register for high school, you can learn more at schoolfinder.nyc.gov or visit the Family Welcome Center.
Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts
New Yorkers seeking to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts can send monetary donations to the Greater Houston Community Foundation's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund either by going online or by texting "HARVEY2017" to 91999 to support the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
The American Red Cross is also accepting donations. You can donate by going online or by sending a text with the message "HARVEY" to 90999 to donate $10.
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