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I need a little support from the Kos crowd (especially those in New York City) who support affordable housing, green buildings, and responsible development. The organization BetterBuildingsNY is sponsoring a petition that is trying to improve a monstrous 3-million square foot development on the last piece of open space on the Upper West Side.

The lives of all New Yorkers will be permanently damaged if this development, called Riverside Center, goes forward as the developer Extell has planned. Riverside Center is five high-rise project slated to stretch from West 59th to West 61st Street between West End Avenue and the West Side Highway.

This development will put tremendous pressure on our already over burdened infrastructure. Our schools are some of the most overcrowded in the city, our affordable housing is disappearing, and our buildings continue to pollute our environment.

Despite the burden Riverside Center will cause us, Extell is doing the least they can to help our community, all while asking the city for major zoning changes which will bring them windfall profits.

The full text of the petition is below, but if you support affordable housing, green buildings, and responsible development then please take a moment to sign the petition.


Petition on Riverside Center
To: New York City Planning Commission, New York City Council, Mayor Mike Bloomberg

The Extell Development Company is requesting major zoning modifications for their Riverside Center development. This development will single-handedly increase the population of the Upper West Side by almost 4% and add significant stress to our already overburdened infrastructure.

The requested zoning changes will add tremendous value to this piece of property, with some estimates claiming that approval of the changes could be worth upwards of $1 billion to Extell. Despite this, the current Riverside Center proposal does not sufficiently address the hardships it will cause the Upper West Side. We, the undersigned, call for three modifications to the Riverside Center proposal to help mitigate these hardships:

• 30% permanently affordable housing
• Six-section per grade K-8 public school capable of seating 1,500 students
• LEED-Platinum sustainable construction

Affordability – The price of housing on the Upper West Side has risen dramatically over the last few decades, while the pool of already scarce affordable units continues to shrink. Those hard-working residents that made the Upper West Side such a wonderful place to live shouldn't be forced to leave their community. We, the undersigned, call upon you to modify Extell’s Riverside Center proposal to follow the precedent set by Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar development and include 30% permanently affordable housing units.

Over-crowded Schools – More than 160 families south of 81st Street are on school waiting lists. The Upper West Side's P.S. 87 has experienced a 60% increase in kindergarten applications over just the last three years. Art, music, and science classes are being eliminated. Despite this, Extell proposes to only provide the core and shell of a school half the size that the community needs. We, the undersigned, call upon you to modify Extell’s Riverside Center proposal to include a fully funded six-section per grade, K-8 public school of sufficient size to comfortably seat 1,500 students.

Sustainability – Once built, the Riverside Center development will be with us for hundreds of years. So how is it that in this day and age we can still be considering the construction of a building without sustainability in mind? Our buildings are already our city's largest source of pollution. Despite this, Extell plans to power Riverside Center using Con-Ed steam generated from #6 oil - the dirtiest type. We, the undersigned, call upon you to modify Extell’s Riverside Center proposal to mandate that all buildings are built to LEED-Platinum standards and seek certification from the United States Green Buildings Council.

The Undersigned

Originally posted to nprigo on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 02:55 PM PDT.

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