Friday, February 22, 2008

WITHDRAWN: AIA Zoning Amendments

WITHDRAWN! Proposed AIA Zoning Text Amendments

Retreating from a torrent of public criticism, the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter has contacted the City Planning Commission and formally withdrawn its application for major changes to the New York Zoning Resolution. These changes, introduced quietly and seemingly without concern for public input in Fall 2007, would have significantly impacted the character of our city's neighborhoods and undermined decades of community-led efforts to ensure balanced, contextual development.

In January 2008, LANDMARK WEST! and the Historic Districts Council co-sponsored a well-attended open forum that rallied community groups from across the city to learn about the proposed zoning changes. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated, wrote, called, emailed and did what needed to get done. Together, we got our message across, loud and clear! And BIG THANKS go to Council Member Tony Avella, Chair of the City Council Zoning & Franchises Committee, who held the line for New York's communities. Council Member Avella will hold a press conference on Friday, February 22, at 1:00 PM. The location is 38-50 Bell Boulevard in Bayside,Queens. Please plan to attend if possible!

To follow and join in the ongoing discussion on this issue, visit

Read the AIA's letter to the City Planning Commission:

19 February 2008
Hon. Amanda M. Burden, Chair
City Planning Commission
22 Reade Street
New York, New York 10007-1216
re: AIA New York Zoning Text Amendments

Dear Chair Burden,

The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, representing 4,200 architect and professional affiliate members, along with the Zoning Task Force it helped to convene, hereby withdraw from formal consideration the seven Zoning Text Amendments that were scheduled to be considered by the City Planning Commission later this month. We do so at the specific suggestion of City Planning Department staff, to allow for more time for public discussion of the portions of the Zoning Resolution which limit the ability of architects to create good design.

The aspiration of the American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter and the other organizations and associations who participated in the development of the proposed Zoning Text Amendments was an improved cityscape, a goal that has been a driving force for your efforts at City Planning. We regret that these suggestions will not come to public hearing at the Commission or at City Council, but strongly urge that efforts go forward to identify and correct inconsistencies and deficiencies in the Zoning Resolution.

We pledge to continue our efforts to create livable and sustainable communities through process change along with revisions to the Building Code and Zoning Resolution.

Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA
2007 President, AIA New York

James McCullar, FAIA
2008 President, AIA New York
cc: Larry Parnes, CPD; Mark Ginsberg, FAIA; Rick Bell, FAIA; Laura Manville

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