Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fighting AIA's zoning text amendments

Council Member Tony Avella joined leaders from various civic organizations and Community Boards at a press conference Thursday to call upon the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to withdraw their zoning text amendment application.

“I was shocked to learn that AIA is trying to rush changes to the zoning code through an expedited ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) process without prior consultation and negotiation,” stated Avella. “Some of their proposals will clearly have a very negative effect on the many positive rezoning actions we have already implemented to protect residential neighborhoods throughout the City from overdevelopment.”

AIA’s proposed amendments would affect/allow:

· Increase lot coverage on small corner lots and allow multi-family buildings on small lots in R6 – R10 Districts and their respective commercial equivalents.

· Allow rear dormers in rear setbacks and allow taller maximum base heights in R6 – R10 Quality Housing buildings.

· Amend Bulkhead rules.

· Allow for a waiver of side yard requirements in R3-1, R3-2, R4 and R5 residential districts through a special permit issued by the Board of Standards and Appeals.

Avella stated, “If AIA fails to withdraw their application, I have advised them that I will vote against their proposal when the matter comes before me as Chair of Zoning for the City Council. It is equally disturbing that the Department of City Planning has allowed AIA to push these changes, since their members will obviously benefit financially from them.”

“In what the Queens Civic Congress and many others consider a bizarre action, the City Planning Commission ‘certified’ for ULURP, a zoning text proposed by the AIA, not in the public interest,” stated Corey B. Bearak, President of the coalition representing more than 100 civic, community, condo, co-op, tenant and other organizations in the borough. “It is really a private interest scheme.”

“Queens Civic Congress urges legislators to commit NOW to publicly oppose the AIA zoning proposal,” stated Patricia Dolan, Executive Vice President of the Queens Civic Congress and Chair of its Land Use and Planning Committee. “We can wait for ever for the certification of a zoning proposal we want to move forward. Here, for a private industry, a city agency apparently jumped through hoops, rather than sitting on this dangerous proposal.”

“Our Community Group whole heartily supports Council Member Tony Avella's stance on the AIA's back door handling of their self-serving Zoning Text Amendment application that is before the City Planning Commission. Along with Brooklyn Community Board 7, we are demanding they withdraw their application from CPC voluntarily and allow proper public scrutiny and review, since the majority of their proposed changes will have major negative impact on lower density neighborhoods. These proposed amendments are nothing more than a Trojan Horse that will allow the AIA to further exploit zoning resolution to benefit their clients: real estate developers in NYC,” stated Aaron Brashear, Co-Founder of the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights.

“Responsible community planning is essential, it is the best way for the government to represent the people,” stated Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, former Chairman for Community Board #9 in Manhattan.

“Some architects have often been accused of working too closely and in conjunction with unscrupulous developers,” Avella added, “Their actions thus far with respect to this application have only succeeded in reinforcing that view with many community leaders.”

Also in attendance were representatives from the South Canarsie Civic Association, Juniper Park Civic Association, Auburndale Improvement Civic Association, Hollis 11423 Block Association, and the Four-Borough Neighborhood Alliance.


Anonymous said...

Thanks to Mr. Avella and Civic groups leaders efforts, someone represents us in our fight against deterimental development. The architects are in bed with developers and wield the self-certification to abuse, to make boat loads of money, at the expense of our neighborhoods that they are rapidly destroying.

Anonymous said...

Yes but we'll still vote for Vallone for BP and Weiner for Mayor, won't we?

Anonymous said...

We will vote for whomever the clubhouse tells us to vote, and more importantly, if the clubhouse tells us not to listen to someone, we will turn them out.

It's just so much easier to get by when someone else does the tough thinking for us.

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah

Oh I get such a headache from all that R2 this and C6 that. It is just soo complicated.

Let me read the Gazette and see what is really important. I can understand that. I also get regular mailings from my representative.

Very informative. Always great to see those young handsome fellows working so hard for us.

Anonymous said...

So you mean these communities worked hard to get downzoning and the city is just going to allow AIA to come in and undo all of that? Wow, this really makes me see that Bloomberg is full of s-h-i-t.

Anonymous said...

Look, my nephew is an architect and he told me several years ago that this downzoning is all a sham.

You get spot downzones to make it look like Swiss cheese, Avella gets term limited out of office, and few builders that just put up anything they want knowing that the city purposely drags its feet so that the violation becomes a 'fait accompli', and, well, even a clubhouse hack gets the picture.

But it does help a certain preservationist take nice vacations.

The only way that you will get this stuff to stick is stop sending development next door. The entire city has to downzone and the entire city has to work together or the entire city will hang together.

Anonymous said...

WHERE was JIM GENNARO and the Jamaica Estates Civic Association at a time when zoning issues are directly affecting Jamaica Estates and the integrity of our community.
I am more convinced than ever that Gennaro and others are in bed with developers and architects making tons of money at the expense of our neighborhoods and the average tax payer.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet that the likes of Bobby "the hairpiece"
AKA "scab" Scarano and Tommy "the terrible" Huang
approve of the AIA butt f----g us in the showers !

Anonymous said...

Go Bob go - run Bob run - give em hell at the council!

Vincent Favorito said...

The basis of Due Process is Notice and Comment. If an Agency Like the CPC is offered a proposal to change the regulations on zoning DUE PROCESS requires that the Public be Notified and given a fair opportunity to comment on the changes. When the proposal will ratically effect the rights of citizens in an open socirty we require a public hearing.
The AIA hear attempts to avoid and delay due process to the citizens who are effected by this change.
This speaks of old time club house back room politics I believe Amanda Burden is above that sort of shady politics. If this gets to her desk at it is signed without a proper "veting" the people will demand a full and complete investigation into the practices of this agency and ultimately on the Mayor since he is resposible. I do not think the Mayor wants to leave office with this stain and smell of politics.