DOWN TO THE WIRE — State Legislature Negotiating Final Details of Budget Deal Including Supersized Development and Overriding Landmarks Protections for Religious Sites — WRITE NOW!

Supertall superluxury 432 Park Avenue (l.) and the landmarked historic Grace Church (r.) — expect to see more of the former and fewer of the latter if pro–real estate advocates get their way in the state budget deal being hammered out now.

Late yesterday, Governor Hochul announced a “conceptual framework” had been reached with the State Legislature on the budget and a variety of unrelated issues being considered alongside it, which includes proposals to remove all state limits on the allowable size of residential development in NYC (allowing the City to rezone any neighborhood to as dense as it likes) and to override landmarks protections to allow construction on the site of landmarked churches and other religious properties. However, the final details of that deal have NOT yet been worked out, particularly around these issues of grave concern to us. So it’s critical that state legislators hear from you NOW that you OPPOSE the State removing all limits on the allowable size of new residential development in NYC and overriding landmarks protections for churches and other religious properties.


Background: Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, Borough President Levine, and local elected officials including City Councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Erik Bottcher have called for the state to entirely remove the 65-year-old, post–Robert Moses limit on the allowable size of residential development in New York City (a “limit” so generous it has allowed the construction of both the world’s tallest residential building and the country’s largest). This would let the City rezone any residential neighborhood or area to as great of density as it likes, with no limits whatsoever. Mayor Adams has already made clear he would take advantage of such allowances, and no doubt neighborhoods like ours would be in his sights and those of other future Mayors, over whom real estate interests hold enormous sway. Village Preservation has called for keeping the limit in place except to allow residential conversions of office buildings, and if it is lifted, to protect historic districts and moderately scaled residential neighborhoods, and limit its use to entirely or largely affordable developments and/or to areas that already allow large-scale commercial development like Midtown, the Financial District, and Hudson Yards. Read more here and here.

Scores of State legislators have sponsored a bill that would override local landmarks protections to allow construction on the site of churches, synagogues, and any other religious institutions. A campaign supporting the bill is being led by a real estate front group called “Open NY” that advocates for dismantling landmarks and neighborhood zoning protections. Village Preservation and our allies have been calling upon State legislators to jettison these provisions from the bill or drop their support. While some have committed to work toward doing so, the bill remains alive and unaltered with a well-funded effort to see it passed as quickly as possible. Read more here

Village Preservation works every day to protect the special character of our neighborhoods from harmful and inappropriate development, including waging battles at the city and state level. We’re only able to do so with YOUR SUPPORT.

April 16, 2024