NEWS AND ISSUES


November 25, 2009


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, New York 10007

Robert LiMandri
Commissioner
Department of Buildings
280 Broadway
New York, New York 10007

Shari C. Hyman
Director
Office of Special Enforcement
1 Centre Street, Room 1012N
New York, New York 10007

David M. Frankel
Commissioner
Department of Finance
66 John Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10038


Dear Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner LiMandri, Director Hyman, and Commissioner Frankel:

I am writing to express my extreme outrage regarding the New York City Department of Buildingsf (DOB), New York City Department of Financefs (DOF) and Mayorfs Office of Special Enforcementfs (OSE) handling of the General Theological Seminaryfs (GTS) application to amend its 2005 restrictive declaration to allow the use of its Desmond Tutu Center as a commercial hotel.

On August 27 of this year, I and other elected officials who represent the neighborhood in which GTS is located, wrote to DOB, DOF, and OSE requesting clarification on a number of issues surrounding GTSf application. That letter, which is attached, requested a response before any amendments to the restrictive declaration were approved.

Since that time, my office has been in regular communication with DOB and OSE regarding GTSf application and my office was told that the application was still pending. Unfortunately and inexplicably, I and my co-signers have yet to receive any of the answers requested in the August 27 letter.

On September 17, I met with GTS representatives at their request to discuss the application. As the representatives were unable to answer my questions, I requested a follow-up meeting with GTSf land use attorney to fully and accurately discuss the issue. GTS has twice postponed this meeting.

Last Friday, November 20, GTS contacted my office with the news that DOB had amended its restrictive declaration and granted a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy; thus GTS would commence using its Desmond Tutu Center as a commercial hotel.

Since that time, my office has been in regular communication with DOB and OSE regarding GTSf application and my office was told that the application was still pending. Unfortunately and inexplicably, I and my co-signers have yet to receive any of the answers requested in the August 27 letter.

On Monday, November 23, GTS issued a press release publicly announcing this information.

My office has subsequently been in contact with DOB, DOF and OSE staff requesting confirmation, an explanation and any documentation of any actions taken but to no avail. Yesterday, Tuesday, November 24, a neighborhood resident provided my office with both the Termination of the Restrictive Declaration and the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy that DOB has issued to GTS.

The Termination of the Restrictive Declaration is dated August 18 and was filed with the City Register on November 17. The Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is effective as of November 20.

I demand to know why there has still been no response to the August 27 letter, and yet GTSf application to amend its restrictive declaration has not only been approved but also received that approval on August 18, more than three months ago. I fail to understand how this could have occurred. Further, I expect all of you to immediately provide me and the other elected officials who wrote you in August with all relevant documents regarding this extremely important issue, and an explanation of the administrationfs regrettable handling of this matter.

I await your immediate response.

Sincerely,


Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senator
29th District


valid xhtml1.0valid css