CB2 delivered — for GLWD
To The Editor:
RE “Neighbors Say God’s Love Plan Doesn’t Deliver” (news, Nov. 28, 2012):
The role of Community Board 2 is to reflect the views of its constituents. Anything but that occurred on Thurs., Dec. 20, when the board approved a land use modification application for QT Development and God’s Love We Deliver known as a “minor modification”— a modification to God’s Love’s 1993 deed that would allow its rooftop property to be used as open space by a private developer.
However, the application for the modification, formerly inspected by the public and voted down by the board’s Land Use and Business Development Committee a week earlier on Dec. 16, was incredibly rewritten by members of the community board along with the developer in a private session behind closed doors! Can you imagine the shock and chagrin of my neighbors and me when we arrived at the full board meeting on Dec. 20, only to be told that the application from a week earlier had been retrofitted and that the Land Use Committee had reversed its position? The developer had added a clause in the application stating that they will plant a few more trees and install windows and air conditioners for one of the adjacent buildings. Wow! That is probably the equivalent of lunch money for their attorneys for one week and falls way short of the type of stipulations that need to be included in order for this type of “minor modification” to be approved. All this behind we the people’s backs.
Then enter Tom Duane, the original author of the 1993 deed for the GLWD property. Since a close confidante of Tom Duane had initially brought the “minor modification” to my attention and gave the neighborhood reason and encouragement to oppose it, I couldn’t imagine that Mr. Duane didn’t concur. What happened to make Duane practically come out of retirement to come down and urge the board to support the “minor modification”? More subterfuge in a week of subterfuge. Disgusting! CB2 and Tom Duane should be ashamed of themselves in honoring developers, favors and big money ahead of the common people. Shame on you.
I appealed to the community board to consider the more than 300 rent-stabilized units directly and indirectly adjacent to the site and the huge consequences that adding another 18,000 square feet to this building would have for those people. It’s almost 30 percent more heft. But the fix was in. Our pleas fell on deaf ears.
GLWD has donors with the deepest pockets on planet Earth. This cynical line they spun that their mission is doomed unless they conspire with a major real estate developer to raise a measly few million dollars from the sale of their air rights is horrible. How dare they use people dying from AIDS and other illnesses as P.R. for their new real estate venture. I know many many people who have approached GLWD about quality-of-life issues, such as odor and trucking noise, only to be given a very cold shoulder.
Come spring, the heavy machinery will roll in and a giant development will proceed, towering above the little munchkins below, and once again “progress” in Manhattan will come at the expense of the common man. In this instance it will be most remarkable because of the huge population living directly adjacent to the site and the fact that their community representatives find it more agreeable to be “in” with the big money and developers than their own constituents.