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Mayor Supports Developer’s East Houston Street Rezoning, Continues to Block Community-Supported University Place/Broadway Rezoning

Planned development at 255 East Houston Street

GVSHP testified today at the City Council in opposition to a developer-requested rezoning on East Houston Street, which is strongly opposed by the local community, community board, local Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The rezoning plan was recently approved by the City Planning Commission, which is controlled by the Mayor. The rezoning would facilitate a developer’s plans to replace the former home of a much-needed city-subsidized child care facility with a high-rise condo with commercial space in the ground floor. The rezoning still needs the approval of the City Council.

There are many reasons why approvals should not be granted for this rezoning, which is supported only by the developer and the lobbying firm of Capalino + Co., which they hired to secure the approvals. There are serious tenant-harassment allegations against the developer. These sites were rezoned in 2008 at the community’s request specifically to keep in place incentives for uses that serve the community, rather than the planned commercial uses. And simply put, there is no public benefit to the proposed rezoning, which is supposed to be the criteria for all such decisions.

However, perhaps most troublingly, while the Mayor has approved this developer-requested rezoning with no public benefits, he continues to block community-supported rezonings with clearn public benefits in the same City Council District and same Community Board. For example, also in Councilmember Mendez’s district, the Mayor has refused to allow GVSHP’s proposed rezoning of the University Place/Broadway corridor to move ahead, which is strongly supported by Councilmember Mendez, Borough President Brewer, all local elected officials, and the local community and community board. That rezoning would put in place reasonable height limits for new development (the current zoning allows and encourages 300 ft tall towers, such as the one being built at the Bowlmor site at 110 University Place), eliminate incentives for dormitory, hotel, and office construction, and include incentives or requirements for affordable housing within new developments. This in spite of the fact that the Mayor claims that affordable housing is his number one priority.


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