A deep dive into State Assembly Bill A8031 amending the HRPT act of 1998

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Pier 26 patch of park

November 14, 2013- Governor Cuomo finally signed A8031. The Villager reports, “On the same day that around 200 Lower West Side residents gathered to discuss their fears about a bill that would allow the transfer and sale of Hudson River Park’s air rights, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed the bill into law. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, had just finished his introductory speech at Wednesday’s meeting, around 7 p.m., when word came that Cuomo had signed the bill. (It was The Villager that alerted Berman by e-mail after having been informed by a spokesperson for the Hudson River Park Trust that the governor had approved the bill. Assemblymember Richard Gottfried also confirmed to The Villager that the governor had O.K.’d the bill.)”

June 21, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD

We previously reported that the state assembly (an d likely the senate) passed a bill this week that now allows the Hudson River Park Trust to sell unused air rights to adjacent properties to the east. This will provide the much needed funding to repair Pier 40 and run the entire HRPT. We obtained the bill and read it, looking for other changes that will be coming to the Hudson River stretch of Manhattan.

First, regarding the new ability to sell air rights, the bill states: ” TO TRANSFER BY SALE ANY UN– — USED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS AS MAY BE AVAIL-ABLE FOR TRANSFER TO PROPERTIES LOCATED UP TO  ONE  BLOCK  EAST  OF  THE BOUNDARIES  OF  THE PARK ALONG THE WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN, IF AND TO THE EXTENT DESIGNATED AND PERMITTED UNDER LOCAL ZONING  ORDINANCES  ROVIDED HOWEVER  THAT REVENUES DERIVED FROM THE TRANSFER OF AIR RIGHTS FROM PIER 40 MUST BE — — USED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE FOR THE REPAIR OF PIER 40  INFRAS-TRUCTURE  INCLUDING  PILES AND ROOF, AFTER WHICH ANY EXCESS REVENUES MAY BE — — USED BY THE TRUST FOR OTHER — — USES PERMITTED BY THIS ACT.  THE PROCEEDS OF SUCH SALES SHALL BE PAID TO AND BE THE PROPERTY OF THE  TRUST.  THE STATE  AND  THE  CITY  OF NEW YORK, EACH WITH RESPECT TO ANY TRANSFER OF UN– — USED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS RELATED TO ITS  REAL  PROPERTY  IN  THE  PARK, SHALL  EXPEDITIOUSLY  EXECUTE ANY REQUIRED DOCUMENTS AS MAY BE NEEDED TO EFFECTUATE SUCH TRANSFER;

Perhaps as a direct result of DowntownTV reporting, the new law makes the Pier 26 construction now legal to proceed. Recall, the restaurant development quietly sprouted with no discussion by the Tribeca Community Board or HRPT board. The bill states: “EXCEPT  THAT AN ENCLOSED, TWO STORY STRUCTURE WITH A COVERAGE LIMITATION OF 12,000 SQUARE FEET THAT IS BUILT FOR — — USE AS AN ESTUARIUM FACILITY  IS PERMITTED  at Pier 26,   AND  THE COVERAGE  LIMITATION  AT PIER 97 SHALL BE NO MORE THAN A TOTAL OF 12,000 SQUARE FEET.”

The HRPT still cannot issue bonds, for unknown reasons, but can now enter into “contracts” to raise revenue. The bill states: ” The  trust  shall not be authorized to issue bonds, notes or other  similar obligations,… THE TRUST SHALL BE PERMITTED TO PAY FOR OR  TO  ENTER  INTO ASSIGNMENT  CONTRACTS  IN  CONNECTION WITH SITE SPECIFIC IMPROVEMENTS TO EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE”

Pier 76 is in play now. The bill mandates that the city move the towing and impounding lots, to allow for commercial development. The bill states: “The  city  of New York shall use best efforts to relocate the tow pound on Pier 76.  Subsequent to relocation of the tow pound,  THE CITY OF NEW YORK SHALL PROMPTLY CONVEY TO THE TRUST A POSSESSORY INTEREST IN PIER 76 CONSISTENT WITH SUCH INTEREST PREVIOUSLY CONVEYED WITH RESPECT TO OTHER PORTIONS OF THE PARK, PROVIDED THAT AT LEAST FIFTY PERCENT OF THE PIER 76  FOOTPRINT SHALL  BE — — USED FOR PARK — — USES THAT ARE LIMITED TO PASSIVE AND ACTIVE OPEN SPACE AND WHICH SHALL BE CONTIGUOUS TO WATER AND PROVIDED  FURTHER  THAT THE  REMAINING  PORTION  SHALL  BE  FOR  PARK/COMMERCIAL  — — USE. UPON SUCH CONVEYANCE, PIER 76 SHALL BECOME PART OF THE PARK”

Hotels are coming. The bill states: ” SHOULD  THIS  ACT  PERMIT THE CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION AND — — USE OF A HOTEL OR MEETING SPACE WITHIN ANY PORTION OF THE PARK, THE TRUST OR  THE CONTRACTOR  OR  SUB-CONTRACTOR  OF SUCH PROJECT SHALL ENTER INTO A VALID AGREEMENT”

A new business heliport will be added north of 29th street. The bill states: ” A ONE STORY HELIPORT  TERMINAL  BUILDING,  FUEL TANK STRUCTURE AND FIVE ACCESSORY PARKING SPACES — — USED IN CONNECTION WITH A WATER DEPENDENT NON-TOURISM/NON-RECREATIONAL HELIPORT TO BE LOCATED ON A  FLOATING  STRUCTURE  LOCATED  BETWEEN WEST 29TH AND WEST 32ND STREETS ”

Surcharges of $2 will be added to passenger tickets on any tour boats departing from piers within he HRPT. The bill states: ” TO ESTABLISH, FIX, REVISE, LEVY AND COLLECT OR CA– — USE TO BE  ESTAB-LISHED,  FIXED, REVISED, LEVIED AND COLLECTED, A FEE FROM EACH PASSENGER TRAVELING ON A COMMERCIAL PASSENGER VESSEL OF UP TO TWO DOLLARS ON  EACH”

Leases will be extended from 30-years to 99-years.

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