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Redistricting Plan Withdrawn By Commission That Created It

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The city's districting commission, charged with redrawing the lines that make up the 51 City Council districts, voted to withdraw their original plan Tuesday and hold more public hearings before coming up with a new one. NY1's Zack Fink has the story.

The hastily called meeting came amid questions about whether the commission had the authority to withdraw the maps it had already submitted.

After receiving assurances from the the city's law department, the commission voted unanimously to take back its maps and hold a new round of public hearings.

But that wasn't all. The commission also voted for two changes to the maps.

One change addressed a controversy involving the embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

After the maps had already been voted on by the commission, Lopez's ally, City Councilman Erik Dilan, requested that Lopez's home be moved to the neighboring 34th district where it would be easier for Lopez to run for City Council.

The move caused an outcry.

"I mean certainly there was a lot of public concern about that, and we're responding to that," said commission member Carl Hum. "The same way we are responding to need for additional hearings."

"It was a very odd change. Not only given the fact that it was at the behest of Dilan to favor Vito Lopez, but also because the idea had never been publicly vetted before," said Dick Dadey of Citzens Union. "It was the result of a private meeting."

The changes must still be formally adopted by the commission but even making the preliminary changes to the maps drew protests from two commission members, state Sen. Frank Padavan and former City Councilman Tom Ognibene.

"My concern was that in voting on these several changes, which I don't disagree with, we leave the perception that that's all we are going to do," Padavan said.

Several organizations are seeking additional changes to the maps and their concerns were not addressed.

"I just wanted to make sure that it was understood that this plan isn't adopted because we just revised it," Ognibene said. "There still needs to be public hearings, this is not part of the adopted plan, and I wanted that clear."

The new round of public hearings are expected to take place in January.

The pushed back timetable complicates preliminary discussions that have been had about moving New York City's primary from September to June.

That would need to be done by state lawmakers in Albany.

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