Team of facilitators selected, labor representative from Build Up NYC added to making recommendations for area
NEW YORK, NY – The East Midtown Steering Committee, a planning group co-chaired by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and City Councilmember Daniel R. Garodnick to set the framework for a new greater East Midtown area, has finalized the group’s membership and will proceed with its first formal session today, aided by a team of facilitators.
A facilitation team has been hired to help the committee conduct its discussions. The team will be led by John Shapiro, Chair of the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment at Pratt Institute. The team will also include Geoffrey Wiener, formerly the Assistant Vice President of Facilities Planning at Columbia University; David Burney, former Commissioner of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) from 2004 to 2014; and Jonathan Martin, who was the facilitator for the South Street Seaport Working Group, the first pre-ULURP planning group created by Borough President Brewer.
“These highly experienced planners, facilitators, and land use experts will assist the Steering Committee throughout this process,” Borough President Gale A. Brewer said. “I believe robust community participation is necessary with any significant rezoning and this experienced facilitation team will help us get the plan right for East Midtown.”
“We now have the right pieces in place to advance the conversation about a new East Midtown rezoning plan,” said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
“The East Midtown Steering Committee, under the leadership of Borough President Brewer and Council Member Dan Garodnick, is bringing together key stakeholders to advance a critical conversation on the future of East Midtown, ensuring that the multiple interests of this complex community are included in the formation of recommendations for zoning and other actions, including coordinating new development with appropriate infrastructure and city services,” said City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod. “They have enlisted an expert facilitation team and the Department of City Planning will continue to support this important community discussion.”
“East Midtown deserves to be one of the grand commercial and mixed use districts of the world. We’re proud to be working with so many dogged and well-informed elected officials, advocates, public servants, and experts of all kinds,” said facilitator John Shapiro.
Funding for the facilitation team was provided jointly by Borough President Brewer, Councilmember Garodnick, and the City.
Created at the direction of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the East Midtown Steering Committee will help define future policy changes and make recommendations to the Department of City Planning on the rezoning of the greater East Midtown area.
In addition, a rotating representative from Build Up NYC, a coalition of construction and building management labor groups, will join the Steering Committee.
“Build Up NYC is pleased to take part in this important discussion about responsible development in East Midtown,” said Build Up NYC president Gary La Barbera. “We want to talk about creating and preserving good middle-class jobs and maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure that we all count on.”
Going forward, the Steering Committee’s agenda and discussions will be reported back to Community Board 5 and 6’s monthly Full Board meetings—which are scheduled the second Thursday and second Wednesday of every month, respectively—beginning with November’s meeting. The public will provide their input at these sessions and ask questions to be taken back to the Steering Committee, whose meetings are private to encourage full and frank discussion.
The Steering Committee will hold meetings twice a month with the goal of delivering a final set of recommendations to the Department of City Planning by Spring 2015.
The final Steering Committee membership will include one representative from each of the following:
- Community Board 5
- Community Board 6
- The East Midtown Multi-Board Task Force
- Municipal Art Society
- Landmarks Conservancy and Historic District Council
- Regional Plan Association
- Real Estate Board of New York
- Grand Central Partnership
- East Midtown Partnership
- Build Up NYC