The city's Planning Commission is expected to give the green light today to the Yankees' application for a new stadium, but neighborhood advocates and urban planners say that the city's land-use process has served as little more than a rubber stamp for a project backed by the mayor.
As part of the city's land-use approval process, the application was un der review by the Planning Commission for about six weeks, but it has not significantly changed, according to one city official.
The proposal to build a 51,800-seat stadium on a site next door to the existing stadium, displacing about 22 acres of parks, was rejected by the local Community Board 4 in an advisory vote late last year.
A member of the community board and an urban planner by trade, Lukas Herbert, said yesterday that the city has failed to address neighborhood concerns about lack of community input, the quality of 28 acres of replacement parks, the location of the parking structures, public transportation alternatives, declining property values, and health effects.
"This thing is being pushed though as quickly as possible and that should not be the case with a project of this size," Mr. Herbert said. "There has been no holistic examination of what it is doing to the neighborhood, and it could really mess up years of progress."
The state Legislature and the City Council have already approved the transfer of parkland to the Yankees.
Supporters of the new stadium, who include Mayor Bloomberg and the president of the Bronx, Adolfo Carrion, say the project will create jobs and revitalize one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. The Yankees say the new stadium will constitute the largest private investment in Bronx history.
Dozens of opponents and supporters attended a public hearing at the Planning Commission about the project on January 11 that lasted late into the afternoon.
Yesterday, the president of the Yankees, Randy Levine, would not say what changes, if any, had been made recently to the plan and said the proposal would speak for itself today.
According to earlier statements by team and city officials, some changes were made to the application before the Planning Commission's review, including lowering the height of a parking garage and moving some fields closer to the neighborhood.
A professor of urban planning at Hunter College, Tom Angotti, said that the city's land-use review process, particularly the review by the Planning Commission, which contains mayoral appointees, is flawed in a way that favors projects approved by the mayor.
"They have yet to show any independence as a body when it comes to thumbs up and thumbs down. They can influence a project and change a project, and they have done that on occasion," Mr. Angotti said. "Deals get made in advance with the mayor that make it unlikely they will go against him."
A planning official said yesterday that commission members had relayed the concerns expressed by community members to the Yankees and the Parks Department since the land-use process began in late September.
If approved, the city will spend $135 million to create new parks and enhance infrastructure, and the state would pay $70 million for construction of additional parking facilities. The Yankees would pay about $800 million for the construction costs of the stadium.
If the application is approved today as expected, it still must be approved by the City Council.