Upper West Side Rezoning

Manhattan’s Community Board 7 has passed a resolution calling for the rezoning of an area of the Upper West Side bounded by 97th Street, 110th Street, Riverside Drive, and Central Park West. The proposal comes as two luxury towers being constructed by Extell Development Corporation, each more than thirty stories tall, are rising on Broadway between 99th and 100th Street.

Although the two buildings are being built as-of-right under the current zoning, many residents fear that the project’s disproportionate scale threatens the neighborhood’s character and are pushing for a rezoning that would prevent similar developments from taking place in the future.

CB 7’s proposal would limit building heights to 125 feet along Broadway and 75 feet on other streets but would make exceptions for developments that include units for tenants with low and moderate incomes. It would also bar air-rights transfers of the type which allowed Extell’s high-rises to exceed heights of 300 feet. Council Member Inez Dickens, whose district includes the proposed rezoning area, has expressed strong support for the plan.

The Department of City Planning has said that while it agrees with the board’s call to limit heights on side streets, it would like to raise the proposed limit on avenues to 175 feet. In order to become law, the board’s plan would require the approval of the City Council.

The City Council approved the rezoning on September 25, 2007, in a unanimous vote. New developments along Broadway must remain under 14 stories. City Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito, who represents the area, praised the approval as a “safeguard against aggressive development.”

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