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Consents & Variances

2016 Applications for Annual Post-Parade Events in and around Madison Square Park

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, March 10, 2016, the following resolution passed with a vote of 32 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The entities listed above ("Applicants") have submitted applications to hold post-parade events in Madison Square Park and on certain adjacent streets, causing those streets' closures; and

WHEREAS, Over the course of several years, Applicants have worked with Community Board Five, in coordination with the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) and the Madison Square Park Conservancy (MSPC), to improve their events operationally and alleviate any issues from past events; and

WHEREAS, Each Applicant has signed a Statement of Compliance acknowledging their understanding and acceptance of Community Board Five's Policy on Madison Square Park Large Events and each of its required operational commitments and restrictions; and

WHEREAS, Each Applicant has provided a site map of their event, including emergency lane clearance requirements, as well as plans for sanitation, security, amplified sound, and cell phone contact information for day-of point persons to respond to any immediate concerns; all of which have been submitted to SAPO; and

WHEREAS, Each Applicant has agreed to set the volume level of their amplified sound system by 2:00 p.m. the day of their event, in coordination with SAPO and MSPC, and commits to no further increase of volume levels past that time; and

WHEREAS, Each Applicant has agreed to notify the residential buildings surrounding the park one week prior to their event, and to conduct on-site meetings with MSPC two weeks prior to their event to work out operational details and anticipate any concerns; and

WHEREAS, In the case of the Federation of Indian Association, a problematic event in 2014 due to the misuse of amplified sound and problems with vendors, both issues were resolved in 2015, warranting Community Board Five's approval; and

WHEREAS, In the case of the Pakistan Day Festival, the Applicant has been put on notice that their failure to adequately manage food safety concerns in 2015, and the subsequent removal of at least one vendor by the Department of Health, has resulted in heightened scrutiny for this year's event, with the explicit understanding that failure to fully comply this year with Community Board Five's Policy on Madison Square Park Large Events will result in an automatic denial of their event in 2017, as per Community Board Five's and SAPO's policies not to support any event after material non-compliance for two consecutive years; and

WHEREAS, In response to community concerns, CECM and SAPO have determined that in 2016, these events will be relocated to a different set of streets, namely Madison Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, and East 26th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue, in hopes to decrease the impact on residents and businesses alike, an experiment whose proposal has been met with support by residents, businesses, the Flatiron BID, and the Applicants; and

WHEREAS, All parties, including CECM and SAPO, understand that the event layout changes are to be regarded as on a trial basis only, with full evaluation of events in 2016 and input from all stakeholders to be taken into serious consideration before determining actions for subsequent years; and

WHEREAS, The opening of the Edition Hotel on Madison Avenue and 24th Street, the anticipated opening of a Sony storefront on Madison Avenue and 25th Street, and the significant increase in new residential units in the immediate area lead Community Board Five to continue to question the appropriateness of these large events and their significant impact on the Flatiron neighborhood, including the impact on Madison Square Park on six weekend days in seasonal months of high park usage; and we implore CECM and the Mayor's Office to reconsider their location, despite the Applicants' good-faith efforts in improving the planning and execution of their events; and

WHEREAS, Despite these concerns, there is long-standing precedent for these events, some of which have been held for decades; and

WHEREAS, Each Applicant has exhibited good faith efforts in continuing to improve the execution of their event, including multiple meetings and correspondence with Community Board Five for planning purposes; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the 2016 applications for annual Post-Parade Events in and around Madison Square Park from the Persian Parade Foundation, Inc, Sikh Cultural Society, Philippine Independence Day Council Inc., Pakistan Independence Day Festival, Federation of Indian Association, and Muslim Foundation of America, Inc.

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