With legal help from TakeRoot Justice, Cooper Park residents stopped a plan for luxury development on their parking lot by showing that NYCHA failed to follow environmental-review procedures and did not adequately engage residents.
Our Equitable Neighborhoods Partners
Abolish the NYC Tax Lien Sale Coalition
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Chhaya Community Development Corporation
Cooper Square Committee
East New York Community Land Trust
Good Old Lower East Side
Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center
New York City Community Land Initiative
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
The Residents to Preserve Public Housing
United for Small Business NYC
In the news
City & State NY: Could NYCHA really fall into private hands?
“Then why didn’t the city or state guarantee stepping in, in the event of a default?" asked Marquis Jenkins, a longtime resident of NYCHA’s Bracetti Plaza in the East Village and a founding member of Residents to Preserve Public Housing.
amNY: Don’t park your lot here: Locals rally against Rutgers Slip playground demolition for luxury towers’ parking lot
“I’m still hopeful that we can have what was promised–a space that will serve the residents of Lands End II until the new buildings are built. Never a parking lot,” Paula Segal said, an attorney for CAAAV.
Artnet News: How Dozens of Gallery Expansions Hide the Brutal Reality of Real Estate Today—and How a Proposed Law Could Help (and Other Insights)
Paula Z. Segal, senior staff attorney at TakeRoot Justice, called commercial landlording in New York “the last unregulated industry.”
The Village Sun: Foes fight Two Bridges developer Joe Chetrit, demand Buildings Department deny work permits
The community groups have since then filed a zoning challenge through their counsel, Paula Segal, senior staff attorney with TakeRoot Justice, of D.O.B.’s acceptance for consideration of additional building permits.
Harlem World Magazine: Activists And Electeds Cheer End Of The Rudy Giuliani Created NYC Tax Lien Sale
“The old system enabled debt collectors and hedge funds to make millions at the expense of New York families and neighborhoods,” said Paula Segal, Senior Staff Attorney at TakeRoot Justice.
New York Focus: Tenants Suffer As City Sells Landlords’ Tax Debt to Speculators
Although New York’s tax lien sale is intended to incentivize property owners to pay, it can pressure owners to sell to speculators or cut corners with maintenance, without oversight from the city and at the expense of tenants.
Curbed: Most Storefront Rents in New York Are As High As Ever
Rents came down for, like, a month or two, and then everyone started trying to make up for what they lost,” said Paula Segal, an attorney with TakeRoot Justice, which offers legal services to small commercial businesses.
Gothamist: In Pandemic’s Aftermath, Calls Grow For NYC To Regulate Commercial Rents
Small businesses often given cheaper rents for the first year of a lease as an incentive, but then “it doubles in year two because the landlord is trying to make up what they lost during Covid.”
NYCHA Real Talk Request for Proposals: Translation Review and Resident Workshops in Spanish and Chinese
We are looking for partners who will be able to review translated materials and conduct test workshops with their members in the target language. Materials address housing conditions and NYCHA’s privatization schemes.
Patch: Community Sues New York City Council Over Flushing Rezoning
The lawsuit describes the slight-of-hand that the City Planning Commission used to incorrectly certify the developers' application to start the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) without an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The City: Council Considers Killing the Tax-Collection Machine Rudy Giuliani Built
If the owner still could not pay back the lien, Segal said, they could “decide that they want to transfer the value of their land to the community land trust as a way of resolving the debt.”
The City: Locals’ Lawsuit Slams Flushing Waterfront Development Project
Lawsuit filed by TakeRoot on behalf of Chhaya CDC, Minkwon Center for Community Action and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce argues that a full environmental review, with community input, was omitted and is necessary before City Council vote.
New York Law Journal: #ClosedByCOVID: The City’s Power To Save Our Small Businesses
The City has the legal authority to suspend rents for commercial tenants impacted by the pandemic and stabilize commercial rents in the long term. By Paula Z. Segal, Cheryl Walker and Catherine Humphreville May 15, 2020 Having reduced her restaurant to
Law360: NY Atty Confusion, Concern Around New Virus Eviction Rule
New executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo amending rules for commercial and residential evictions during the coronavirus pandemic could be particularly challenging for small businesses, according to senior staff attorney at TakeRoot Justice.
Resources for New Yorkers Struggling with the COVID-19 Pandemic
TakeRoot is committed to standing with our partners and their communities as they face the coronavirus pandemic. We have created resources for Organizations, Worker Coops and Small Businesses, for Workers, for Consumers, for Immigrants, and for NYCHA Residents & Organizers.
NY Daily News: Public housing gets the shaft again: Put coronavirus failures on top a wide range of other ones
We have been back in court twice; each time, the judge has urged NYCHA to make and show progress. But conditions continue to deteriorate, even amidst increasingly urgent concerns over COVID-19.
The City: NYCHA Tenants Stuck in Elevator Agony with Outage Spate
TakeRoot Justice has sued the authority, alleging the elevators and other persistent problems violate residents’ rights to live in safe, healthy conditions. A judge has ordered NYCHA to improve conditions, but the coronavirus has given renewed urgency to making fixes.
Gotham Gazette: After Years of Community Organizing, Nonprofits Now Get Much-Needed Relief from Dangerous Tax Lien Sale
Our connections are essential for our resilience. Even as we continue this work from home, our networks have never been more important than they are today.
Gothamist: Judge Sides With LES Groups In Fight Against High-Rise Towers In Two Bridges
"We're no longer talking about a developer's fantasy world," said Paula Segal, a senior staff attorney with TakeRoot Justice.
New York Times: The People vs. Big Development
“The developers are on notice that if they don’t work with communities to come up with plans that work with everybody, we’ll see them in court,” said Paula Segal, a lawyer with TakeRoot Justice who is representing some of the
Spectrum Noticias NY1: Inquilinos de varios edificios de vivienda pública demandan a NYCHA por mejoras en apartamentos
Abogados de la firma Take Root Justice y funcionarios electos resaltaron que esta lucha de los inquilinos puede ser una larga batalla.
The City: Tenants Sue for Repairs at Embattled East Side Public Housing Complexes
Tenants who helped derail development at two aging Yorkville public housing complexes are suing to demand decent living conditions.
Fighting Gentrification With Community Action
When developers planned to build three massive luxury buildings in the Two Bridges neighborhood on the Lower East Side, community groups fought back.
NYN Media: New York City Council examines bills aiming to support nonprofits
The Al-Muneer Foundation had its applications for exemptions repeatedly denied and had to fight back foreclosure. For nonprofits with city contracts, like the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center, difficulties with exemptions and debt can jeopardize their funding.
Gothamist: In Harlem, A Rezoning Plan Triggers Fears About The End Of A Black 'Oasis'
Daniel Carpenter-Gold, of TakeRoot Justice, which represents the tenants association, said the proposed commercial upzoning is tailored more for big box stores ... “Why would they need this [commercial] rezoning?” he said. “Their renderings showed a coffee shop.”
Jackson Heights Post: Activists, Elected Officials File Lawsuit to Stop Target From Coming to 82nd Street
“We’re asking the court to step in and enforce the law before it’s too late,” said Paula Segal, an attorney with TakeRoot Justice who represents QNU.
Patch: Lenox Terrace Tenant Group Opposes Expansion Plan
"You don't see places like Target in the pretty renderings that the developer gave the City," Daniel Carpenter-Gold, a staff attorney at TakeRoot Justice, said in a statement. "But make no mistake, that's what they're going for here."
Gothamist: Vital Staten Island Wetlands About To Get A BJ's Wholesale Club
TakeRoot threatened a court challenge over the project's environmental impact statement, which it says is insufficient because it assumed a wetlands permit that the state refused to be bullied into issuing in 2012 and has not issued yet.
Gothamist: 'Enough Is Enough': Activists See Momentum In Court Victories Against Highrise Developers
"The message is that the rule of law applies to people who want to spend a lot of money building big buildings in New York, In 2019, that is a change."
Politico: Real estate industry concerned over Two Bridges decision
Paula Segal said the recent ruling is “certainly a word of caution for anyone who’s looking to add buildings to any of the dozens of ‘large scale’ development plans in the city.”
Curbed: A judge blocked three towers planned for Two Bridges. Now what?
“Once those changes are put into effect any new construction in this area will have to conform to the residents vision as it was developed,” says Paula Segal, an attorney with TakeRoot Justice who is working with the community groups
Gothamist: Judge Rules That Two Bridges Cannot Proceed Without Full Public Review Process
“It’s great to know that the court takes its oversight authority seriously,” said Paula Segal, an attorney who argued one of the lawsuits for community groups. “Usually there’s so much deference to the city.”
City Limits: Court Ruling Rebuffs De Blasio Admin Over Manhattan High-Rises
“The decision is very clear that none of the agencies can take any action. They cannot send confronting letters, they cannot accept applications, nothing can happen towards the development of the towers until they are properly approved.”
Patch: Two Bridges Towers Threatened In 'David And Goliath Moment'
A lawyer for the groups, Paula Segal of TakeRoot Justice, said the goal is to rezone the neighborhood before developers re-apply to build the towers — forcing them to follow the community rezoning plans.
Harlem World: New Legislation Mandates Online Database Of Vacant Storefronts And Tracking Of All Commercial Spaces From Harlem To Hollis
Uptown Council Member Helen Rosenthal‘s legislation which mandates the tracking of commercial storefronts across New York City, and a public database of vacant storefronts, was passed by the City Council today.
Gothamist: Court Decision Throws Another Wrench Into Supertall Plan At Two Bridges
Paula Segal, an attorney on one of the lawsuits against the broader Two Bridges plan, said the Lower East Side groups she represents have already initiated conversations with the Department of City Planning on an application to change the zoning
City Limits: LES Groups Try to Revive Rezoning that De Blasio Admin. Rejected
“It was a strategy we developed two and a half years ago. It’s based on the Chinatown Working Group. So it’s kind of exciting to plan and see it come to fruition this way. It has all been very deliberate.
The City: Court Knocks Out Building Block of Lower East Side Stacked Tower
To attorney Paula Segal of TakeRoot Justice, who is also working with the rezoning group, the judge’s comments “really opened the door to a collaborative approach” with the city. “We’re really happy about that,” she said.
Crain's New York: Queens developer swamped by progressive wave
Without Moya's backing, the rezoning proposal never came to a vote in the City Council, and the project was scuttled.
Real Deal: South Bronx residents skeptical of de Blasio rezoning plan
A new report highlights fears of higher prices and lost jobs.
Curbed: Community land trusts score crucial funds in city budget
The latest city budget includes $750,000 to grow an underutilized housing model that creates affordable homes in rapidly gentrifying communities—a major win for housing advocates. The funds will go toward incubating community land trusts (CLTs).
Holmes Towers NYCHA Private Development In-Fill Application Withdrawn with Commitment to Meaningful Community Engagement
Private development planned on the Holmes Towers public housing site on the Upper East Side will restart its community engagement process as the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has withdrawn its Section 18 application from HUD.
City Limits: Two Bridges Foes Win a Round in Suit Over Mayoral Power
“We won Two Bridges hearing, today. The judge accepted our arguments and extended the restraining order until written decision in August. He said on the record that he believes the process was fatally flawed.”
Curbed: Inside the legal fight for Two Bridges towers
Paula Segal, the attorney with the Equitable Neighborhoods Practice at the Community Development Project, asserts that because the buildings reside within the LSRD they must go through a process know as “authorization,” Segal told Curbed after Wednesday’s hearings.
Jackson Heights Post: Target Coming to Elmhurst, Building Plans Approved by BSA
“Today, the BSA got it wrong,” said Paula Segal, senior attorney with Equitable Neighborhoods Practice at the Community Development Project, who is working with QNU. “The City cannot allow developers to bury big box stores underground to skirt...”
Politico: City quietly pauses plans for private development at Brooklyn NYCHA site
The de Blasio administration has postponed plans to develop private apartment buildings on a public housing site in East Williamsburg, signaling another challenge in the city’s quest to generate revenue for the struggling New York City Housing Authority.
Next City: How All Residents — Not Just Citizens — Have a Voice in Planning
Building a case like this takes thousands of hours, Segal says, working with community organizers to prepare affidavits, gathering evidence to build a legal argument, responding to questions from the judge. Consistency is everything.
Staten Island Advance: Ecosystem, homes at risk in Graniteville
“...And we humans living nearby will likely see our homes damaged or destroyed come the next big storm.”
CityLab: The Battle for Queens, New York, Is Not Just About Amazon
“The danger is, if we don’t challenge Target, national retailers will think they could put department stores anywhere in the city,” said Paula Segal, attorney for QNU. “We will no longer have residential districts. It will just be mall NYC.”
LIC/Astoria Journal: QNU takes Target to “the people’s court”
“It is illegal for them to build here,” she said, “and our community will not take it.”
Next City: Momentum for NYC Community Land Trusts Gets $1.65M Boost
“We’re working with our clients to support community ownership and stewardship of land to develop housing and all the other things they need to support themselves,” says Paula Segal, TakeRoot senior staff attorney.
Avery Hall Investments and Community Organizations Sign Agreement Preserving Neighborhood Supermarket and Creating New Affordable Housing at 120 5th Avenue
The “Cooperation Agreement” between AHI and the Community Stakeholder Group will now ensure that the mixed-use development will have a 22,000 square feet supermarket.
Green Valley Community Farm Saved from $1 Sale to Private Developer
Community garden will continue its 20-year tradition of serving fresh produce to New Yorkers TakeRoot represented the Isahbaliah Ladies of Elegance Foundation in making the claim that the land was open space held in public trust by the City for
Community groups and local residents reach historic accord with New York State and developers of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards Project
The agreement calls for delivery of 2,250 promised units of affordable housing ten years earlier than previously agreed; imposes penalties for failure to meet deadlines; creates tenant protection fund and special oversight subsidiary.
Protecting a Local Retail Zoning District from an Illegal Underground Shopping Mall
TakeRoot’s Equitable Neighborhoods team represents Queens Neighborhoods United (QNU), New York City Council Member Francisco Moya, New York State Senator Jessica Ramos, Desis Rising Up and Moving and individual QNU members in litigation against the City and the developer to
Protecting Wetlands in Staten Island
Administrative Advocacy As counsel to the Staten Island Coalition for Wetlands and Forests, TakeRoot submitted comments requesting that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation hold a public hearing on and ultimately deny an application to disrupt a wetland that
Challenging Unlawful Lack of Environmental Review of Massive Flushing Waterfront Rezoning
TakeRoot’s Equitable Neighborhoods team represents Chhaya CDC, Minkwon Center for Community Action and the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce in litigation against the City for its unlawful curtailment of environmental review of the proposed Flushing Waterfront Rezoning and Special District.
Enforcing the Two Bridges Large Scale Residential Development (LSRD) Area Site Plan
TakeRoot’s Equitable Neighborhoods team represents Tenants United Fighting for the Lower East Side (TUFF-LES), CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities and Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Land’s End One Tenants Association (LEOTA), and LaGuardia Houses Tenants’ Association in litigation against the