The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

15 September 2014


Affordable Housing + Preservation Roundtable to Be Broadcast Live On-Line

Proposed Meatpacking District/West Chelsea Rezoning

Keep Up the Fight for the South Village and Old PS 64

Affordable Housing + Preservation Roundtable to Be Broadcast Live On-Line

Interest in tomorrow night's Roundtable Discussion on Affordable Housing and Preservation has been so great, the RSVP list has been closed. But we've got good news: City Councilmember Rosie Mendez (East Village, Central Village, Gramercy/Stuyvesant/Midtown), former Chair of the Public Housing Committee of the City Council, has joined the panel, and the entire program will be broadcast live on the web -- you'll be able to watch it here. So even if you can't make it, you can be part of the conversation. And you'll even be able to tweet in questions to the panelists -- just send them to @gvshp, using the hashtag #AffHsngPrez. And like all GVSHP programs, it will be video recorded and available to watch after on our YouTube page.

Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation: A Roundtable Discussion
Presented by Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, & The New School Center for New York City Affairs
The affordable housing crisis in New York has impacted the entire city. As activists concerned with maintaining and nourishing New York City's diverse neighborhoods, we ask you to join us in taking back this important public conversation about affordable housing and neighborhood preservation from the real estate lobbyists. We'll look at what the true obstacles are to affordability in New York City, and what the real relationship is between preservation and affordability, hearing from experts on the subject in government, advocacy, housing creation, and academia.

Panelists include: Hon. Gale Brewer; Manhattan Borough President; Councilmember Rosie Mendez, former Chair of the NYC Council Public Housing Committee; Harvey Epstein, Project Director of the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center and NYC Rent Guidelines Board Member; Nadine Maleh, Director of the Inspiring Places program at Community Solutions; and Rachel Meltzer, Assistant Professor of Urban Policy at The New School. The panel will be moderated by Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

Tuesday, September 16
6:00 P.M.
Click here for more information and a full list of co-sponsors.


Proposed Meatpacking District/West Chelsea Rezoning

A long-awaited proposal to rezone part of a block of the Meatpacking District/West Chelsea, between 14th and 15th Streets, 9th and 10th Avenues, is finally moving ahead. GVSHP and allied community groups have long called for a rezoning of this block, much of which lacks landmark protections, where the current zoning allows out-of-scale, high-rise development. We have called for a contextual rezoning, to impose height limits where none currently exist to ensure that any new development matches the scale and character of the area. Such a rezoning is especially important given the State's passage in 2013 of legislation allowing the transfer of air rights from Hudson River Park inland to increase the size of allowable development. That legislation would have allowed air rights to be used on this block, but a contextual rezoning would make that much more difficult.

An earlier proposal for a rezoning of this block would have put in place some new height limits but also upzoned the sites, increasing by 50% the allowable size of new development. GVSHP and our allies objected strenuously to this, and that aspect of the proposal was dropped. The rezoning proposal now moving ahead leaves the allowable bulk (i.e. square footage) of new development as is, but imposes contextual height limits where none currently exist, limiting the possibility of high-rise development and the accumulation of air rights on individual sites -- read the full proposal here.

Unfortunately, the rezoning proposal was delayed by the City for more than a year, and several developments on that block are in the process of moving ahead. Once work on a new development begins, it is "grandfathered" and can be completed under the zoning which was in effect when it began, rather than new zoning. That is why we are calling for the rezoning to move ahead as quickly as possible.

The sites to be rezoned lie within the Gansevoort Market Historic District which GVSHP was able to get on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2007, and within our originally proposed landmark district, though most of the sites were taken out of the district when the City designated it in 2003.

The proposal will be heard tonight publicly for the first time in the Community Board #4 Chelsea Land Use Committee meeting, which begins at 6:30 pm in the Community Room at 353 West 30th Street (8th/9th Avenues). This is the first of many public hearings and discussions which will take place around the proposal. If you are interested in finding out more or would like to support the proposal, attend tonight's meeting.

Keep Up the Fight for the South Village and Old PS 64

The response has been great to our call for letters to the City urging they landmark the remainder of the South Village, and to block the apparently illegal plan to turn old PS 64 at 605 East 9th Street into a dorm. But the City has not yet agreed to move ahead with landmarking the historic and endangered South Village south of Houston Street, or to disapprove the sham dorm plan for the former 64 64/Charas-El Bohio Cultural Center, so we need to keep the pressure on!

If you have not already, please send a letter to the City on these two important and urgent issues. And if you have already written, ask a friend, neighbor, or relative to do the same.


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