Tuesday, October 20, 2015

UPPER WEST SIEGE! Neighborhood Character Under Fire



Mayor de Blasio's rezoning plan will raise height limits.
The Upper West Side among the neighborhoods hardest hit!  

Thanks to the efforts of neighbors like you, the Upper West Side's character is protected by hard-won Historic Districts and contextual zoning - in other words, rules that ensure any new development maintains the existing character of our neighborhood.  

Mayor de Blasio wants to increase height limits in some cases by 20-30%.  Under this proposal, swaths of landmarked mid-block brownstones (including 88th Street, above) within our West End Historic districts could rise twenty feet -- two full stories taller.  Skylines along Central Park West and Riverside Drive could rise forty feet.   Nearly every block of the Upper West Side would be affected.

Come to the public hearing at Community Board 7 on
Wednesday, October 21, starting at 7pm
at 250 West 87th Street, 2nd Floor

Learn more about how this plan would affect YOU!
Maps released by City Planning this year show corridors where Inclusionary Housing would allow heights to rise by 20-40' [translation: two to four additional stories] in height over current zoning (blue areas, map left) and where Senior Housing use would allow developers to bypass existing envelope restrictions in form and/or height (rose areas, map right).

[Zoning for Quality & Affordability] appears to move toward the idea of FAR [i.e., development rights] as an entitlement by which developers are now trying to build to full floor area ratio in a building envelope. This risks incentivizing redevelopment with no protection of existing affordable units and no requirement for on-site replacement of those units. [emphasis added]  Click here to read the full report

Make no mistake - the Mayor's plan is a massive give-away to developers who have been trying to "unlock" the Upper West Side by overturning our neighborhood's hard-won zoning and historic district protections for decades.  The result will be higher, bulkier, out-of-character new buildings.   And, because this is part of a citywide zoning plan, there has been no careful study or disclosure of the impacts these new buildings would have.  What is clear is that our neighborhood will bear the burden of new development, with no guarantee that anyone - except big-money real-estate interests - will benefit.

Here's what you can do right now:

Write to Manhattan Community Board 7!
Email:  mail@cb7.org
ATTN:  Richard Asche & Page Ayres Cowley, Land Use Committee Co-Chairs, and Nick Prigo, Housing Committee Chair

Here is a sample:

I support efforts to defend our neighborhood from Mayor de Blasio's plan to weaken zoning protections and allow height limits within Community Board 7 to be raised by 20-30%. I am deeply concerned about the disproportionate impacts the proposed "Zoning for Quality & Affordability" plan would have on the Upper West Side, toppling our community's hard-won zoning and historic district protections, with no serious study or disclosure of how the changes would affect our neighborhood's human scale and unique sense of place. This is not the way to ensure affordability, architectural quality, and quality of life in our city. 

Write to your City Council Member, Community Board, and Borough President Gale Brewer (contact info below)
Hon. Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President 

Hon. Helen RosenthalCity Council District 6
District Office Phone: (212) 873-0282

Hon. Mark Levine, City Council District 7
District Office Phone: (212) 928-6814
If you have questions, please contact us at:


NEW YORK, NY 10023

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