Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shearith Israel Hearing: April 15 Hearing for Zoning Variances

Third and (Perhaps) Final Public Hearing at NYC Board of Standards and Appeals on Congregation Shearith Israel's Condo Plan for West 70th Street

Consider this email urgent notice to all of you who care about preserving the scale and character of our city's low-rise rowhouse midblocks, the rationale of New York's zoning laws, and the integrity of the public process intended to defend our neighborhoods from inappropriate development. Just think of all of the other institutional developers lined up for zoning variances around the city - St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center, theNew-York Historical Society, The Ramaz School, the list goes on and on...Connect the dots (and note that developer Jack Rudin, one of the city's most politically connected developers, is involved in both Congregation Shearith Israel and the St. Vincent's plan). This could well be the hearing that determines YOUR community's future. The hearing is open to all, and anyone may speak (even if you already spoke at a previous hearing).

DATE: Tuesday, April 15, 2008


PLACE: Board of Standards and Appeals, 40 Rector Street, 6th Floor (take #1 subway to Rector Street, walk west) YOU can help win a key battle, one with major ramifications for the entire city. Just by showing up-even just for 30 minutes or an hour.

YOU can help reinforce the importance of a fair and balanced review process, one that isn't weighted toward the developer and major institutions. It's important to note that, despite over a year of paper filings and public hearings, Congregation Shearith Israel still has failed to prove that it meets the standard for any of the 7 zoning variances from BSA it would need to build a 105'-tall building with 5 floors of luxury condos stacked on top of a new community house.

YOU can help hold the line against out-of-scale development that diminishes quality of life. Because of the luxury condos, this new building would be more than twice as tall as any other building on the brownstone midblock ofWest 70th Street, undermining both its contextual zoning and landmark protection as part of the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District, designated by the Landmarks Commission in 1990. For more information, visit

We know mid-day hearings aren't easy, and we wouldn't ask if your presence weren't vitally important. Showing up means just as much as speaking up, so please make every effort to attend even if you don't plan to testify!

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