| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:24

    roughly 40 people testified at the first public scoping meeting about riverside south, held last week at the city planning commission downtown. scoping marks the beginning of the project's environmental review, which examines all aspects-traffic, parkland, schools, etc.-of a development's impact on the neighborhood. riverside south, under development by extell, is slated for the plot of land between west 59th and 61st streets along the hudson river. one of the biggest questions highlighted during the jan. 8 hearing concerned the development's density. a 1992 agreement with then-developer donald trump included 572,192 square feet of residential space, 743 parking spaces and a television studio. though the current plan has no television studio, extell is now proposing, among other changes, 2.55 million square feet of residential space and 1,800 parking spaces. community board 7 chair helen rosenthal also wants extell to pay for a new school planned for the development, which would help address the crush of students who have already flooded the neighborhood. school crowding is certain to worsen once riverside south is full (completed buildings aren't even fully occupied yet) and the fordham university development is finished. rosenthal also said the board is asking extell to include 20 to 30 percent permanent affordable housing, rather than the 12 percent that was previously outlined. "the world has also changed since the 1992 agreement," she said, pointing out that there are now only three mitchell lama affordable housing developments in community district 7, compared with 10 in 1992. riverside south also got its share of support at the hearing, particularly from members of the construction industry. "i came here today to tell you that i fully support the extell development planned project on riverside drive," said ed mcwilliams, of the nyc district council of carpenters. "this project would create thousands of construction jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue in the city of new york during a time that it needs it most. this is going to have a tremendous impact on the lives of construction works and the lives of their families." dennis gimlit, another member of the carpenters union, called riverside south, "a responsible development from a responsible developer at a time when the economy is hemorrhaging jobs." "we had a large number of union people, carpenters, laborers and teamsters speak on our behalf," said george arzt, a spokesperson for extell. "there were some community people, but we were rather pleased by the hearings to see the outpouring of support for us."