Rezoning proposal in NYC neighborhood could threaten planned skyscraper
- A group of Manhattan residents has filed a zoning proposal with the Department of City Planning in an effort to ban commercial development and institute a height cap on new construction in the Midtown East–Sutton Place area of the city, according to DNAinfo.
- The East River 50s Alliance's plan makes an exception for "community use" commercial development, such as daycare centers or medical offices, but would enforce a maximum height of 260 feet on the construction of any new buildings.
- If the proposal goes through, it would kill a 700-foot-tall, 67-story residential tower project planned for the neighborhood. The developer, Gamma Real Estate, has already shortened the height twice, once from 900 feet to 844 feet, then again to 700 feet, according to Curbed New York.
Gamma bought the property in a foreclosure sale, and three buildings have already been demolished to make way for the skyscraper. Currently, the neighborhood has no building-height restrictions. The group expects the city to certify its application in the next two weeks and move on to public review.
Pushback against skyscraper development is nothing new, but calls to curb megadevelopments have ramped up in major U.S. cities. The complaints typically fall into three categories — the new building is not in character with the rest of the neighborhood; it will create too much traffic congestion and stress existing infrastructure; or new, usually high-priced residences will force out lower-income renters.
Developers and proponents of new construction often push back against those claims and say that housing is in short supply in many cities, and anti-development measures would only worsen those conditions.
Los Angeles activists introduce a ballot measure last year, the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, in an effort to curb high-density development in the city, but the measure failed to win over voters in last month's elections. If it had been successful, the bill would have put a two-year moratorium on the rezoning changes necessary to build megaprojects.
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