Thursday, January 17, 2008

Important Meeting on Zoning Changes - January 23 at 6:30pm

Do not miss this opportunity to learn about major zoning changes that, if approved, will significantly alter the character of New York's neighborhoods!

WHAT: Informational Community Meeting on Proposal to Amend Zoning Text for Contextual Zoning Districts

WHEN: Wednesday, January 23, 6:30 PM

WHERE: General Society for Mechanics & Tradesmen, 20 W. 44th Street.(Located in third floor classrooms of The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America)

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) is helping to put together this important public meeting to make sure residents and property owners who have worked to preserve the traditional scale and humane qualities of their communities in all five boroughs (in neighborhoods like the Upper West Side, Park Slope, Bayside, Greenwich Village, etc.) have access to information about the ramifications of the zoning changes proposed by the NY Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (the full proposal is available at:

The proposal was quietly introduced by letter to the city's community boards in October 2007 (which did not allow for Community Board meetings to be scheduled until December), and the AIA has reported the amendments are scheduled for a public hearing at the City Planning Commission in February. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has asked for this hearing to be postponed until the public can thoroughly review the proposal and get the full story. Where do your elected officials stand on this?

Neighborhood activists throughout the city have raised concerns that these changes would undermine decades of community-led efforts (including the recent 96-110th Street rezoning) to ensure balanced development that sustains the best features of New York's neighborhoods, including:

* Existing limits on building base heights to preserve light and air on our city's sidewalks and other public spaces

* Existing limits on the size of rooftop bulkheads (i.e., HVAC equipment, elevator equipment, etc.)

* Preservation of open space, light and air in buildings' rear and side yards

Change is inevitable in a city like ours, but it's only desirable when it's for the better, not the worse. The limited amount of public review and information released raised concerns that the amendments may contain "booby traps" that the public has not had adequate time to evaluate. The question stands: are the amendments in the public's interest? Or a developer-driven (i.e. profit-driven) strategy to maximize the building envelope?

Get informed! Get involved! RSVP for the January 23 meeting today! You can also get information on the proposal by attending Manhattan CommunityBoard 7's Land Use Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 16, starting at7:00 PM at 250 W. 87th Street (entrance just west of Broadway, 2nd Floor) and by visiting

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