The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

19 January 2015


Dear friend,

This past Wednesday GVSHP presented its proposal for a contextual rezoning of the University Place and Broadway corridors to a packed Community Board public hearing. Thank you to everyone who turned out to show support! I am happy to report that the Community Board's Land Use Committee voted unanimously to endorse GVSHP's rezoning proposal. You can watch video of the public hearing and presentation here, and review the PowerPoint presentation of the proposal here.

Current zoning for the University Place and Broadway corridors allows and encourages totally out-of-scale construction, as evidenced by plans for a 308 ft. tall tower on the site of Bowlmor Lanes at University Place and 12th Street (the zoning actually allows even taller new develop ment). Zoning for much of the area also gives incentives for the construction of dorms or hotels, in spite of the predominantly residential character of these blocks.

GVSHP's contextual rezoning proposal would put height limits on new construction in place where none currently exist; eliminate the possibility of large-scale air rights transfers; require buildings to meet the streetwall, which maintains the traditional built character of the area; eliminate the incentives for dorm and hotel construction; and as per the expressed priorities of the de Blasio administration, would include incentives or requirements for th e inclusion of a percentage of affordable housing in new development. The administration must support any rezoning proposal in order for it to be approved.

GVSHP is also continuing to look at and talk to stakeholders about possible proposals for expanded landmark protections in the area. While contextual zoning controls the shape, height, and uses found in new development, landmark designation preserves and protects existing historic or architecturally significant buildings; requires public hearings for new construction, alterations, or additions; and subjects any proposed changes to buildings to the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which must find that such changes are 'appropriate' to the aesthetic character of the area. Most of Greenwich Village and an increasingly large portion of the East Village are covered by landmark protections, but almost the entirety of the University Place/Broadway corridors are not (see maps here and here).

Support by the full Community Board will be an important step forward for this plan to protect our neighborhood from inappropriate development. If approved, we will seek support from local elected officials, and then ask the Department of City Planning, which must approve any such rezoning, to consider the proposal.


  • Attend the full Community Board #2 Meeting this Thursday, January 22 at 6pm in the Auditorium of the Scholastic Building, 557 Broadway (Prince Street). GVSHP will briefly present its Contextual Rezoning proposal for the University Place/Broadway Corridors proposal to the full board, and those in attendance will be asked with a show of hands to indicate support for the plan. Let the Community Board know you support the plan!


Andrew Berman
Executive Director

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