Last week the City’s Planning Department made presentations to local community boards regarding its ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability’ proposal, which would increase the allowable height of new residential development throughout the five boroughs. Though the City modified the plan slightly in response to concerns by GVSHP and others, the plan would still allow or encourage larger, taller developments in much of our neighborhood, with little or no real public benefit in return. The plan was met with considerable skepticism at both Community Board 3 (East Village/Lower East Side) and Community Board 2 (Greenwich Village/SoHo/NoHo), where a standing-room-only, overflow crowd expressed unanimous opposition to the plan. Neither Community Board voted but will continue to examine the proposal, which will begin the formal public hearing and review process in the fall.
While the City is seeking to move ahead with this plan which would weaken local zoning protections, GVSHP is seeking to strengthen and expand such protections. We have proposed (and received strong support for) new contextual zoning districts in the South Village and the University Place/Broadway Corridors. In these areas current zoning allows and encourages the construction of dorms and luxury condo towers of 300 feet in height or greater; in fact, one such 300+ ft. tall luxury condo tower is planned for the Bowlmor site at University Place and 12th Street.
Ironically, the City claims its plan will increase housing production in New York City and make for higher quality, more affordable housing. Many skeptics have questioned this claim, but it is unquestionable that GVSHP’s proposed rezonings would do help achieve those goals – by eliminating incentives for dorm construction as opposed to residential construction; by providing some incentive for including affordable housing at some locations; and by eliminating the possibility of sky-high towers which shatter the scale of neighborhoods. And yet thus far the City has refused to act upon these proposals.
Find out more and read GVSHP’s Op-Ed on this issue HERE
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