It’s not over. There’s still time to prevent the construction of a 90-plus story(!) megatower in the middle of East 58th Street just off Sutton Place. But the alarms were sounding last Thursday at a meeting of the East River 50s Alliance.
To quote ERFA President Alan Kersh, “We find ourselves perilously perched.”
Here’s the craziness. The 50s east of First Avenue is the only residential neighborhood in the city that has no – no as in zero – height limits on buildings. That includes narrow, leafy little side streets such as the one targeted for a megatower.
The alliance has presented the city with a very extensive and reasonable plan for rezoning. It awaits certification by the City Planning Commission.
The rezoning plan’s next hurdles
After certification, the proposal would go through a formal process. It includes nonbinding reviews by the community board and borough president and binding reviews by the City Planning Commission and City Council.
So WHY isn’t it getting certification?
Many are asking that question. One suspects that Mayor de Blasio sees affluent part of Manhattan as an easy sacrifice. The city’s enclaves are valuable to developers because they are nice. And they are nice precisely because their people have preserved them with love.
Development battles are also raging in working class areas like East New York in Brooklyn and Inwood at the top of Manhattan. It’s time our diverse neighborhoods united to change the city’s leadership. Surely there are mayoral candidates who see value in beauty and livability and who believe that development must respect its surroundings.
ERFA’s rezoning plan can be found here: http://erfa.nyc/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/FINAL-ERFA-Backgrounder-12-08-16.pdf
EVERYBODY, send City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod a letter demanding consideration of ERFA’s rezoning plan. The work has already been done for you. Just go to http://erfa.nyc/take-action/ for an letter to email to Weisbrod.
And an appreciative shout-out to City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, fighting the good fight in Inwood.
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