Waterfront Alliance Introducing the New Waterfront Management Advisory Board by WaterWire
City Council member Ben Kallos, NYC Chief Resilience Officer Dan Zarilli, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Waterfront Alliance president and CEO Roland Lewis.Introducing the New Waterfront Management Advisory Board
With a chorus of “ayes,” the New York City Council passed legislation on August 16 that reconstitutes the Waterfront Management Advisory Board(WMAB), and with the stroke of a pen, Mayor de Blasio made it law on August 31. “As we build more sustainable, resilient, equitable waterfronts across the five boroughs, we’ll be counting on the voices of New Yorkers to help us,” he said before he signed the bill into law.
An important forum for governmental and civic representatives to work together to shape waterfront projects, the WMAB was created in 1977 but then mostly dormant for 30 years. After strong advocacy by the Waterfront Alliance and other groups, it was revived in 2009, but was active only for about four years.
The City Charter requires the Department of City Planning (DCP) to produce a strategy by 2020 for the next decade of waterfront plans. “The Vision 2020 New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan is now only four years away,” noted New York City Council member Ben Kallos (Upper East Side), a co-sponsor of the bill with City Council Waterfronts Committee chair Debi Rose (Staten Island). “In the wake of coastal flooding from Sandy and rising sea levels from climate change, it’s high time that we reconstitute the Waterfront Management Advisory Board to convene the City with federal, state, and multi-state agencies as well as industrial, commercial, residential, and recreational stakeholders in order to protect millions of New Yorkers living along 520 miles of shoreline from climate change and to keep our city on course for the future.”
Council member Rose, who asked tough questions about the dormant WMAB at a Council hearing earlier this year, said in a press statement, “With the expansion of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board, we will be able to better oversee development on our waterfronts and improve their use and upkeep.”
The board expands from 12 to 18 members, nine appointed by the Mayor and nine by the City Council speaker, and is required to meet quarterly. Changes to the makeup of the WMAB are expected to result in more diverse viewpoints and more input to the Department of City Planning from active users of the waterfront and waterways, concerns voiced loud and clear at the City Council hearing this past spring.
“Strengthened and expanded, the Waterfront Management Advisory Board will be a great tool for equitable and efficient decision-making about appropriate, sustainable infrastructure at our shorelines and fair use of our waterways,” said Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. “Thanks to the Mayor and our City Council colleagues who heard our calls for better oversight for the waterfront and made it reality!”
Individuals may inquire about serving on the WMAB by sending an email to nycresiliencycityhall [dot] nyc [dot] gov or by contacting their local City Council member. The law takes effect early next year.