Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
It's Done! Whitney Woods Officially Saved!
Staten Island, NY – On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, the city of New York closed on the purchase of Whitney Woods, the 1.5 acre piece of environmentally sensitive property that New York City Council Minority Leader James S. Oddo (R- Mid-Island) and Borough President James P. Molinaro promised to save from development, preserve as open space, and mitigate area flooding issues.
Without this action, current zoning rules would have permitted the construction of more than 70 housing units to be built on the space that currently remains green and pristine. This would have exacerbated severe flooding concerns that have long plagued the community surrounding Whitney Woods.
On October 24, 2009, Oddo, Molinaro, and the Bloomberg Administration announced that Whitney Woods was “identified as a priority for acquisition.” Since that time, Oddo and Molinaro have allocated the necessary funds for the purchase, the Bloomberg Administration has been negotiating with the property owner, and the required Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) has been conducted. The total purchase price was $2,735,000. Councilman Oddo contributed a total of $1,450,000 for the purchase ($1 million in FY 2011 and $450,000 in FY 12), Borough President Molinaro allocated a total of $985,000 ($535,000 in FY 11 and $495,000 in FY 12), and DEP contributed a total of $300,000 to the purchase.
Councilman Oddo said, “We have seen too many of our green spaces on Staten Island pillaged by inappropriate development. That is why this victory is so sweet. The same inappropriate development script will not take place at Whitney Woods. We are literally preventing the potential development of 70 housing units in a pristine green space and protecting the local community by ensuring that Whitney Woods acts as a storm water drainage and management area. This makes it a win, win situation for all. I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg, DEP, Borough President Molinaro and staff, and my Chief-of-Staff Steven Matteo, for making this a reality. This is a good day for Staten Island.”
Borough President Molinaro said, “The preservation of Whitney Woods is good news for the Bluebelt and good news for Staten Island. Our Borough has many locations where development has worsened drainage problems. Working with Councilman Oddo and the Department of Environmental Protection, we acquired Whitney Woods, preserved the wetlands, and helped make the neighborhood much more secure from flooding.”
Neighborhood residents first broached the possibility of purchasing the property in 2005 and DEP was receptive to the idea of utilizing the property as a means of stormwater conveyance. The movement to purchase the property gained steam after the release of PlaNYC when Councilman Oddo and Senator Andrew Lanza wrote to the Mayor’s office on June 11, 2008 making this request.
May 14, 2012