Sunday, March 22, 2015
An important message from HDC
We need your help. The de Blasio administration is made it obvious that the preservation of New York City’s character is not being considering in their plans for the future. As citizens and organizations who are working to preserve and uplift New York, we need to make the Mayor hear our voices and address our concerns. HDC and our colleagues are planning a press conference next Wednesday at 3pm on the steps of City Hall to express our concerns about the Mayor’s citywide rezoning proposal ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability’ – an anti-neighborhood proposal which would slash neighborhood zoning protections and lift height limits in both contextual and non-contextual zones. The press conference will be at 3pm and the public hearing on the scoping begins at 4pm at a few blocks away at City Planning, 22 Reade Street.
I’m asking for you help with three things.
1. Please lend your name and support to the attached open letter to the Mayor. Let me know if I can add your organization to the list of supporters. I’m also collecting individual supporters (if so, please tell me which neighborhood you should be identified from). This letter will be going out next week to the Mayor and the press.
2. Please come and participate at the rally on Wednesday 3/25 at 3pm on City Hall steps. We need a good showing to voice our concerns.
3. Testify at the City Planning scoping hearing which starts at 4pm. I have cut and pasted below a template for testimony and/or a letter you can send in (they are accepting comments until April 6). Please let me know if you can testify and/or send in a letter.
It’s vital that we get the message out now that neighborhoods across the City are very concerned about the proposal and the impact it would have, esp. in terms of the lifting of height limits and the way in which this proposal is being rushed through. I hope you can join us.
Historic Districts Council
Robert Dobruskin, AICP, Director
Environmental Assessment and Review Division
New York City Department of City Planning
22 Reade Street
New York, NY 10007
Re: ‘Zoning for Quality and Affordability,’ CEQR No. 15DCP104Y
Dear Director Dobruskin:
I have several very strong concerns regarding the proposed scope of the environmental review for this application, and urge that the scope be expanded.
First, it is imperative that the scope of the review allow for the possibility of the existing height limits for contextual zones and for the Quality Housing program to remain in place. It is one thing to suppose that the City could benefit from having contextual districts with different height limits than those which currently exist, and to examine where such changes might be appropriate; it is another to retroactively change the existing limits everywhere they currently exist, and eliminate the current limits across the board.
It is also imperative that the scope look at the impact which allowing taller development with greater volumes, as proposed, would have on historic resources, neighborhood character, and shadows, especially in and around parks and other light-sensitive resources. While the Landmarks Preservation Commission would continue to regulate the allowable size of new developments and additions in historic districts, important historic resources also exist outside of designated historic districts. Under this plan, the incentive for demolition of such resources would increase, as would the likelihood of vertical extensions being added. Larger and taller construction in neighborhoods, and especially in areas of historic resources, would in many cases have a negative impact which should be measured. Similarly, the larger, taller buildings allowed under this plan would cast larger shadows, impacting parks, playgrounds, and other light-sensitive sites.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.