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Our Letter to Governor Paterson

NEW YORK LIVE/WORK COALITION

Hon. David Paterson

Governor of the State of New York

Albany, NY 12224

re: A.5667-C

June 21, 2010

Dear Governor Paterson,

We have received a copy of Mayor Bloomberg’s letter requesting that you veto this bill, and we submit below our formal response to each of the Mayor’s points, most of which we believe to be either misrepresentations or misunderstandings of the facts of Live/Work Loft Tenant Occupancy and this bill.

  1. It is correct that the exact number of buildings is not known, the location of these buildings, however, is known. The vast majority of buildings affected by this law are, in Manhattan, in the Garment District, Chelsea, Soho, Tribeca, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side; in Brook- lyn, in Sunset Park, Red Hook, Dumbo, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick; in Queens, in Hunters’ Point, Long Island City, and Astoria.
  2. This bill is not primarily intended to protect ‘residential encroachment’, it is intended to pro- tect, primarily, artists and artisans who live and work in these buildings. We occupy these buildings precisely because they afford the space to perform our work and ‘manufacture’ goods.
  3. We agree it is important that buildings which have a mixed residential/manufacturing occupancy be brought into compliance with safety and habitability codes — this is one of the purposes of this bill.
  4. Mayor Bloomberg’s assertion that this bill “would hurt our economy” is a grievous misrepresentation of reality. Additionally, the bill does not “prioritize residential occupancy over industrial use”.
  • a. The bill does not in any way whatsoever restrict or infringe upon industrial development. It merely ratifies a status quo which has existed for decades—that when manufacturing buildings and neighborhoods are abandoned, artists who need those spaces and who resurrect those neighborhoods are entitled to a minimal level of protection.
  • b. We welcome manufacturers or other industrial users as our neighbors. We do not wish to see these neighborhoods converted to residential districts, we wish them to remain exactly as they are, with a small contingent of artists and artisans who can put the spaces to good use together with more conventional manufacturing or industrial uses.
  • c.    The arts are a very serious contributor to the City’s economy and welfare.
  • d. Once again, the bill would not “prevent the City from taking measures to preserve even small islands of industrial businesses”, this bill is meant to protect tenants who are al- ready, with the full cooperation and support of their communities, living and working in these buildings. Additionally, the vast majority of buildings which would be subject to this law do not fall within any of the City’s ‘Industrial Business Zones’, and if there were not live/work tenants as of the end of 2009, there never could be.

Governor Paterson, we have been working on having this bill passed for 12 years, and while there may be minor adjustments which would improve the bill, as there would be with any bill, these issues are not significant enough to delay the urgently needed and long awaited enactment of this law.
We beg you to consider our plea and to remember our contributions to the City and our extreme vulnerability.

Thank you,
Steering Committee New York Live/Work Coalition

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