At the last minute, a bill was introduced into the State Assembly and Senate (A.8031/S.5824) and passed with no public disclosure nor time for public discussion, effectively gutting elements of the Hudson River Park Act of 1998. These included river habitat protection and regular park funding. The bill will also have actual and potential adverse impacts of the taxpayers, the river, and people living near or working in or near the Hudson River Park.
Among our concerns are –
- Approving A.8031 would undermine three of Gov. Cuomo’s stated goals:
- Preventing storm, hurricane and flooding damage.
- Fiscal responsibility and fairness to taxpayers. [See below.]
- Reducing corruption
- A.8031 would authorize risky, complex financing schemes (“assignment contracts,” which can include backdoor borrowing against future lease, fee, air rights sale, and/or “NID” revenues) in order to keep building and rebuilding completely unnecessary development sites and infrastructure in a vast, storm- and hurricane-damage-prone stretch of the Hudson River (490 acres of water and piers and other fills and structures). Similar schemes led to 1975 (NY) and 2008 financial crises and taxpayer bailouts.
- A.8031 would shift liability for storm and hurricane damage and bodily harm throughout this vast stretch of the River and along its edge TO THE TAXPAYERS.
- A.8031 lets HRPT transfer unused development rights up to one block east of HRPT’s project area between Chambers and W. 59th Sts. There are conflicting opinions (a bonanza for lawyers) over where the more than over 2 million square feet (sf) of air rights can come from, and how many too-tall buildings would result from reopening hard-won zoning protections.
- The bill extends HRPT’s power to issue leases for misplaced projects at many locations in the river from 30 years to up to 99 years. These extraordinarily long leases could allow the HRPT authority and its private partners to lock in the misuse of public lands and waters in perpetuity.
You may wish call the Governor at 518/474-8390. Say “I/we urge Gov. Cuomo to VETO A.8031, a bill to amend the Hudson River Park Act to encourage the misuse of the Hudson River and taxpayers’ money. It would vastly increase storm and hurricane damage by subsidizing development in the river.”
Please sign our petition to urge Governor Cuomo to veto this bill. For more information, see our blog post here.[emailpetition id=”2″]