The New York University's ambitious, yet controversial expansion plan has been finally approved by the New York City Council Wednesday.
Amidst protestors, city council gave the nod to NYU's expansion plan by an overwhelming 44-to-1 vote. The Council has approved a series of zoning amendments, permits and map changes that will allow the university to erect four buildings.
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However, due to the extreme opposition from the neighbourhood the university has slashed the size of the i plan by 26 per cent.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) said the new plan would "allow NYU to explore new academic frontiers" but "will not overwhelm the wider Greenwich Village Community." But, the opponents- including few faculty members sceptical about the plan- are furious with the council's decision and were thrown out of the council chamber after causing a cacophony resulting in disruption. They said that the plan would ruin the character of the neighborhood.
Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) was the lone no vote.
The University which currently has 50000 students and 17500 employees has repeatedly stressed on the fact that it needs new classrooms and dormitories to accommodate its growth in the number of aspiring students and professors. If the university will not be allowed to proceed with the proposed plan, officials said, it would have had to continue buying up, tearing down or converting neighborhood buildings, which would further damage the rugged charm of the South Village.
The University's full-time faculty members living in the apartment complexes along with other residents are worried over the 20 years of construction which is expected to create unbearable noise and disruption. They are also concerned over the loss of greenery in and around the construction site. Neighborhood activists said the university could have met its space needs by expanding to empty office space in the Wall Street area or Downtown Brooklyn.
The construction work for the project won't be beginning till 2014.