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Who Owns the Waterfront?
City list will reveal what it has
and what it's used for

Daily News Staff Writer

dvocates fighting for more waterfront access got a boost from the City Council last week thanks to a bill requiring the city to compile a list of all city-owned waterfront land and its uses.

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City Councilmen Michael McMahon (left) and David Yassky tour Brooklyn waste management station in hunt for underused facilities.

Brooklyn City Councilman David Yassky (D-Greenpoint), chairman of the Waterfront Committee, said there is no comprehensive overview available of the city's extensive waterfront holdings which he charges often remain vacant or underused.

But under the Waterfront Inventory Bill unanimously passed by the City Council on Wednesday, the city has until the end of fall to put together a comprehensive list of both its properties and their uses.

Yassky said the inventory is an important first step in making sure the city makes the best use of its waterfront property.

"All along our waterfront we have city-owned property that's being wasted," said Yassky, who introduced the bill. "The first step to waterfront revitalization is figuring our what we have to work with."

As examples of what he considered underused or wasted city waterfront property, Yassky pointed to an impounded car lot in Red Hook at the entrance to New York Harbor and to a city bus washing facility in Williamsburg at the Bushwick Inlet.

In both cases, Yassky said, the city easily could find other locations for those services so the waterfront land could be better used as parkland or even for commercial or residential development.

In still other cases, such as the old WNYC transmitter site on the Greenpoint waterfront, Yassky said, the city allows valuable waterfront property to sit vacant.

Environmentalists Happy

"It's not about getting rid of industry. It's about getting rid of uses that don't need to be on the waterfront or aren't being used at all," he said.

Environmental activists, who have been pushing the city for an inventory for years, hailed the bill.

"I think it's great," said Carter Craft, program director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of 300 community groups across the region.

"Once we have this baseline, we can look ahead and plan ahead and bring waterfront access to all the places that now don't have it," he said.

Mark Caserta, director of the Waterfront Park Coalition, agreed. "We're thrilled," he said. "It's a lot of work from here on in, but it's very exciting."

Original Publication Date: 7/15/02

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