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Why Residents of the Far West Village Should Oppose the City’s Rezoning Plans

The City’s rezoning proposals ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability’ (ZQA) and dcp-presentation-iconMandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) are making their way through the public review process. If approved, each would profoundly impact our neighborhoods and our city, increasing the size and amount of allowable development.  And while both have received overwhelming disapproval from community boards and Borough Presidents, the Mayor insists they will ultimately be approved.  The City Council has final say over these proposals’ fate, but their position remains to be seen.

It’s therefore critical that New Yorkers get involved with the process.  But Far West  Villagers have a particular stake in ensuring these rezoning plans are not adopted.

(l.) 2005 Rezoning — areas in green and purple (without dots) got contextual height limits.  (r.) 2010 rezoning — area in red got contextual height limits.

Why?  Because in 2005 and 2010 we fought very hard to get contextual rezonings in the Far West Village, which for the first time put in place height limits for new construction in the area.  Those new height limits already stopped several bad developments from moving ahead in the area.

But if the Mayor’s ZQA plan goes through, those height limits would be lifted, weakening the protections we fought so hard to secure, and allowing future  developments in the area to rise even higher.

Adding insult to injury, those height limits were already not quite as strong as we wanted and originally proposed.  These were compromises at best, though significantly better than the prior zoning for the area, which had no height limits whatsoever for new development (the new zoning we got also removed the incentive for hotel development over residential development, which the Mayor’s proposal would not affect).

We need stronger, not weaker, zoning protections to help ensure that new development in our neighborhood is not out-of-scale and out-of-character, as too much of it already is.

Any planned new development on this parking lot at Jane and West Streets is governed by the contextual zoning we helped secure for the area in 2005, and could not grow any taller than the building on the right.  Under ZQA, those height limits would be lifted.

Want to help?  Attend the City Council public hearings at City Hall on Tuesday February 9 or Wednesday February 10 starting at 9:30 am, and send letters to city officials in opposition here (letters can also be used as sample testimony; testimony must be no more than four minutes, but 20 copies of written testimony of any length can be submitted).  More information on how to testify, track when you will be called to speak etc. can be found here and here.

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