LESPI's Letter re NYC Rezoning Proposal

May 26, 2015

Carl Weisbrod, Director
NYC Department of City Planning
22 Reade Street
New York, NY 10007

re: Proposed “Zoning for Quality and Affordability”

Dear Mr. Weisbrod:

Lower East Side Preservation Initiative is writing to protest the NYC Department of City Planning’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” text amendments. Our concerns focus on the city’s historic neighborhoods, some but not all of which are NYC historic districts.

Our primary objection to this proposal is that, despite recent modifications to the plan, the rezoning treats the city with too broad a brush. Certain areas of the city may be suitable for this kind of upzoning. But many areas are not, including those where:

* Their special character is defined by low rise buildings, where light and open space predominate. This includes many historic neighborhoods both landmarked and not landmarked.

* The area has been built to a density where light and air have become limited, and severe wind tunnel effects have become more commonplace. Much of Manhattan as well as certain neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens fall within this group.

* Increased development pressure will result in further loss of the area’s existing low and moderate income residents and small businesses, which contribute significantly to neighborhood character and are often its “heart and soul.” A lot of new development results in the loss of these groups.

Although we appreciate the idea of involving community boards in the rezoning process, we are not confident that the voice of the Boards and local residents will be heard in the city’s rush to accommodate deep-pocketed real estate development interests.

We respectfully request that DCP withdraw this broad brush proposal and instead review potential rezonings on a community-by-community basis.


Richard D. Moses

cc: Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYC Council
Hon. Rosie Mendez, NYC Council
Hon. Margaret Chin, NYC Council


The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative is dedicated to preserving the historic streetscapes of the Lower East Side, including the East Village, Lower East Side below Houston Street, Bowery, Chinatown and Little Italy