It’s time to fight back against rich and politically powerful developers, says a new coalition formed to combat what they call “the violence that real estate developers have inflicted on our skyline, parks, public areas, and cityscape.”
Sixty community groups, including roughly a dozen in Brooklyn, are backing the newly-formed New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City (NYFHSC). The coalition says it is targeting Mayor Bill de Blasio, who (via his nonprofit Campaign for One New York) has benefited from major contributions from developers.
The proliferation of “dramatically over-scaled buildings that ignore the historic context of our city” has gotten out of hand, the group says on a petition drive, which as of Wednesday afternoon had been signed by more than 1,140 people.
Steven Guterman, founder of Save The View Now, a Brooklyn group fighting to preserve the view of the Brooklyn Bridge as seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, said in a release on Monday that it comes as no surprise “that the same disregard by the Mayor’s office for responsible development that has obliterated the views of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade is impacting neighborhoods all over our great city.” Save The View Now (STVN) is one of the sponsors of NYFHSC.
Guterman assured supporters that STVN “will stay focused on fighting the recently discovered Scenic View Plane violation and working on our appeal.”
However, the group feels it is “time to make our voices heard and take back our city from the irresponsible developers.”
“We need to return to responsible development that includes proper planning, access to schools that are not overcrowded, enough park land and other services. We have to let the political machine know we have had enough,” Guterman said.
NYFHSC’s petition calls for an end to the way “the real estate lobby has captured our city government and all its regulatory bodies like City Planning and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.”
The coalition is calling for zoning changes, height restrictions, strengthened environmental review processes, and regulatory reforms.
They also ask that appointees to regulatory bodies be free of ties to the real estate industry and that “the revolving door between regulatory agencies and the real estate industry be shut.”
Other Brooklyn groups sponsoring NYFHSC include Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation, Committee to Save Sheepshead Bay, Crown Heights South Association, DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association of Brooklyn, Movement to Protect the People in Crown Heights, South Midwood Residents Association, Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association and the Wa-Greene Block Association.
The New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City petition can be found at www.humanscale.nyc