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City Council Committees Approve Revamped NYU Expansion Plan

Protesters against NYU's expansion project rally on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Protesters against NYU’s expansion project rally on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Two City Council committees have voted to approve New York University’s expansion plan in Greenwich Village.

The zoning subcommittee approved the plan 9 to nothing while the Land Use Committee approved it 19 to 1. Council member Charles Barron cast the single “no” vote.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

“It will not overwhelm the wider Village community,” said council member Margaret Chin.

But before it reached the panels, NYU’s proposal underwent some serious changes.

The university reduced the overall size of the expansion by 20 percent. The plan also allows for more open space, community dedicated spaces and consultation with local residents on construction and land use.

WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reports

Protesters against the proposal rallied on the steps of City Hall Tuesday morning prior to the committee hearings.

“This is a very sad day,” said one Village resident against the expansion. “The reduction was a haircut.”

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which is also against the plan, called NYU’s revamped expansion “grossly inappropriate and a violation of the public trust.”

“This was public land given to NYU a generation ago with clear stipulations that forbade this kind of development from ever taking place here. There has been no true examination of viable alternatives and no real justification by NYU as to why this massive expansion of facilities must take place in the already over saturated Village,” Executive Director Andrew Berman said in a statement.

Members of Villagers for a Sustainable Neighborhood thanked council members for helping to reduce the size of NYU’s plan, but said more changes are needed.

“We would like to thank Council member Margaret Chin and Speaker Christine Quinn for their leadership in negotiating significant changes including reducing the size of several of the buildings. In particular, we are pleased to see the significant reduction of the Mercer Building,” Judy Paul, CEO of the Washington Square Hotel said in a statement. “However, the size and bulk of the Zipper Building remains completely out of scale with the neighborhood.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said he too welcomed NYU’s changes to the project, but said he still has concerns about preserving the neighborhood.

“NYU must continue negotiations with the community to ensure the retention of permanently affordable housing in the neighborhood,” he said in a statement.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the plan next Wednesday.

For more information about the proposal from NYU, click here.

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