Exclusive: Municipal Art Society Official To Take Over As City Councils Land Use Director - Ny Da

A Municpal Art Society official who fought to limit Madison Square Gardens lease to 10 years and to defeat Mayor Michael Bloombergs plans to rezone eastern Midtown has been tapped as the City Councils land use director, the Daily News has learned. Raju Mann, 34, will wield considerable power in his new role over future plans for Midtown and other planning controversies at a time when Mayor de Blasio is pushing for taller towers around the city to accommodate affordable housing. The City Councils land use process is a critical way for New Yorkers to have a voice in the future of the city, and Im looking forward to working to help create critically needed affordable housing, smarter developments and more livable communities, Mann said. A Council spokesman confirmed that Mann would take the job when Gail Benjamin steps down in July after 24 years with the Council. Wendy Pollack, spokeswoman for the Regional Plan Association, said Mann would be a great asset. Mann opposed the Midtown plan which the Council killed late last year in large part because he thought funding mechanisms for improvements to Grand Central Terminal werent secure. He also wanted to safeguard several old buildings in the area through the landmark process. In his role as policy director for the art society and as a member of Community Board 5, Mann fought to keep Madison Square Garden from gaining a permit to operate indefinitely above Penn Station. Related Stories For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/exclusive-municipal-art-society-official-tapped-city-council-land-director-article-1.1797565