Thursday, June 21, 2007

Scoping testimony

If you care about living here
If you care about this place
If you care about history
If you care about the future
If you care about community
If you care about overdevelopment
If you care about the eviction of tenants
If you care about the warehousing of apartments
If you care about giant hotels and mega-dormitories
If you care about life in the Lower East Side & East Village

then tell the Department of City Planning Monday.

The DCP's Scoping Session is the moment for you to express what the community wants for the future of the LES and East Village. If you care about preserving this neighborhood from increasing development and gentrification, come forward and tell DCP that

you do not want construction on your rooftop,
you do not want demolitions and redevelopment,
you do not want to lose our broad, bright avenues,
you do not want upzoning,

that you want this neighborhood to survive as it is and has been for over a hundred years. A community. The downest, homiest, funkyest, realest, mixedest, anarchistest, leftest, best community in the world.

I will ask that the three following alternatives be included in the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement:
1. include the Bowery in the C4-4A zone,
2. do not increase the current 3.44 FAR on the avenues,
3. do not upzone Houston, Delancey, Chrystie or D.

1. Inclusion of the Bowery: the impact of this zoning on the Bowery could be devastating. Unable to build their hotels south of Houston, developers will look to the Bowery where hotels can still be built. The EIS must include a study of the Bowery. LESRRD asks that DCP extend the C4-4A zoning to the Bowery. Most Bowery buildings are four stories or lower. Nearly all the rest are only five stories tall. It is home to some of the oldest, most historic structures in New York (e.g. 185 & 357).

2. Keep the current 3.44 FAR for the avenues: virtually all of 1st Avenue and most of 2nd, A, B and C are lined with buildings 5-stories or lower , FAR 3.44 or less. Raising the FAR to 4 will mean rooftop additions all across the avenues. Landlords use the construction of extensions as a means of turning residences into construction sites to harass tenants out of their homes. Four-story buildings will be warehoused in preparation for demolition and redevelopment. The low-rise, broad, open Civil War context of the East Village avenues will be darkened beyond recognition and solely for money, no other reason.

3. No upzoning on Houston, Delancey, Chrystie or D: Inclusionary up-Zoning on Houston has already brought us the Avalon Building and Whole Foods. The character of the neighborhood cannot survive more 80% market-rate glass&steel intrusions. Added development causes secondary displacement of residents and mom-and-pop businesses. Let's keep developers away, let's not invite them in. A reasonable zoning for these streets: R7B (FAR 3, height cap 75 ft) perhaps with an inclusionary housing bonus to 4. That will ensure that no one currently living in affordable housing will be displaced for the sake of promises of affordable housing.

A general alternative proposal for the entire district including the Bowery:

* maintain the current 3.44 FAR,
* remove the community facility bonus,
* cap heights at 70 feet (3.44 FAR = an average 5 story tenement, so the added height won't threaten existing tenements.)

The closest existing contextual zonings would be R6A and R7B and for south of Houston, C4-3A. Zoning designations like these but with 3.44 FAR would fit the neighborhood like a glove.

Don't forget to sign the petition to include the Bowery:

Scoping Meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement on the EV/LES Rezoning:
Department of City Planning,
Spector Hall,
22 Reade Street
June 25, 2-5pm, 6-8:45pm

1 comment:

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