Advisory Board for Waterfront Management and Resiliency Resurrected by Bill Passed in New York City Council

08/17/2016

New York, NY – Tuesday August 16, the New York City Council passed Introduction 507-A, by Council Member Ben Kallos and Waterfronts Chair Debi Rose. The legislation reconstitutes the role of the City’s Waterfront Management Advisory Board (WMAB) to play an important part in advising New York City on how to best revitalize and protect our 520 miles of shoreline while also ensuring our waterfront investments are anchored to the priorities of our coastal communities.

As sea levels rise, New York’s economy evolves, and the city continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy, the Waterfront Management Advisory Board will help shape a changing New York. The City Charter requires the Board to produce by 2020 a vision plan for our waterfronts and resiliency through 2030, which gives the new-look Board four years to hold planning conversations with agencies and stakeholders, as well as to execute the remainder of the current vision plan.
 
Under the new legislation the Waterfront Management Advisory Board (WMAB) will:

  • Meet quarterly and report on activities annually;
  • Develop reports and consult or advise the Mayor or agencies upon request on industrial, commercial, residential, recreational or other use or development of wharves, waterfront property and waterfront infrastructure;
  • Assist and advise in the drafting of the Comprehensive Waterfront Report upon request of City Planning;
  • Convene and include Federal, State and multi-state agencies and authorities to participate as non-voting members in planning for the waterfront;
Under the new legislation the Waterfront Management Advisory Board (WMAB) membership will be as follows:
  • Membership is expanded to include diverse voices, including ex-officio offices or representatives from their staff: Mayor, Small Business Services (or Economic Development Corporation), City Planning Commission, Environmental Protection, Housing Preservation and Development, and two New York City Council Members.
  • Membership is also expanded to include eighteen (18) members of the public with half appointed by the Mayor and half by the Speaker, with at least one from each borough, including representatives and advocates interested in use of the waterfront for: industrial, commercial, residential, and recreational.

The Waterfront Management Advisory Board was added to the charter in 1977, amended in 1979 and 1991, with few records pertaining to early years, some activity in the Dinkins’ Administration from 1990 to 1993, but largely laid dormant until 2009 when under Local Law 20 of 2009 it was re-established. These amendments seek to increase: diversity of perspectives, inclusion of members; flexibility for agencies in determining representation by employees versus hears; and adapting the mission and duties to serve as a guiding force for waterfront projects.
 
“With rising sea levels will have a direct impact on New York City’s waterfronts and with millions of New Yorkers living along 520 miles of shoreline, a Waterfront Management Advisory Board is more important than ever,” said Council Member Ben Kallos who represents Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side along the East River. “The Waterfront Management Advisory Board can not only plan ahead, but keep our city on track between ten year plans, so that our waterfront is resilient and ready for climate change. Thank you to Waterfronts Committee Chair Debi Rose for her leadership and support on this legislation.”
 
 “Access to our city’s waterfronts is a valued but underused resource for the city. 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. This bill will ultimately enhance and increase access to our beautiful waterfronts, the jewels in the crown of New York City,” said Council Member Debi Rose, Chair of the City Council Committee on Waterfronts.

“Our waterfronts and waterways are among our city’s greatest resources,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The re-establishment of the Waterfront Management Advisory Board will help advise the City on issues related to the waterfront and I thank Council Member Kallos for sponsoring this important legislation.”
 
“The waterfront is one of New York City’s greatest natural assets, encompassing vibrant coastal communities, critical maritime jobs, critical infrastructure, and many cherished natural and cultural resources,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer in the NYC Mayor’s Office. “As we saw from Hurricane Sandy, all of these are vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise, highlighting the necessity of the actions we are taking today to adapt our coastline and prepare for the future.  We look forward to working with the City Council and the Waterfront Management Advisory Board as we build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable waterfront across the five boroughs.”
 
“The Waterfront Alliance hails the New York City Council and the leadership of Council Members Deborah Rose and Ben Kallos to reconstitute and strengthen the Waterfront
Management Advisory Board. This group will provide important feedback on the de Blasio
administration’s critical efforts to clean our waterways, launch new ferry service, and protect our coastlines from the increasing threat of climate change. We look forward to a Board that
represents New Yorkers from all across our coastal city, those both on land and on the water, to ensure that our harbor is safe, clean, and accessible to all,” said Roland Lewis, President & CEO of Waterfront Alliance.