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About Us > Press Releases Printer Friendly Version

May 9, 2012

Rachaele Raynoff / Jovana Rizzo (City Planning) – (212) 720-3471

City Planning Commission Approves Upper West Side Retail Streets Proposal

Statement from City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden:

Working with the community over several years, City Planning developed a proposal to help ensure that the Upper West Side continues to promote a diverse and vibrant retail environment.

The goal was to ensure that blockfronts along Amsterdam and Columbus continue to offer multiple retail venues and that blockfronts along Amsterdam, Columbus and Broadway not be dominated by banks.

The proposed regulations limiting frontages of new establishments along Amsterdam and Columbus to 40 feet, and limiting new bank frontages along all three avenues to 25 feet will help ensure that, over time, a diversity of retail services along Amsterdam and Columbus avenues will be maintained, while promoting a varied and active retail environment on Broadway.

We heard testimony both at our hearing and via correspondence that certain existing businesses were concerned about the ability to expand along Amsterdam and Columbus, and we responded to those concerns with a streamlined waiver which provides both flexibility and speed. The modified proposal also includes provisions which respond to other concerns expressed by business interests in the area.

The proposal, as modified, will ensure that the Upper West Side will continue to be one of the most desirable locations for retailers and shoppers in the city.

I want to thank this tenacious and thoughtful community and its elected officials for their dedicated participation in this effort. Specifically, I want to recognize Council Member Gale Brewer and her staff for their advocacy, her colleagues Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Inez Dickens for their support as well as Community Board Chair Mark Diller and former Chair Mel Wymore and the leadership of the community board, all of whom helped inform and craft an approach to a set of complex issues that we believe will meet the needs of multiple stakeholders on the Upper West Side and address the unique constraints of its retail opportunities.

I enthusiastically vote yes.

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) promotes strategic growth, transit-oriented development, and sustainable communities in the City, in part by initiating comprehensive, consensus-based planning and zoning changes for individual neighborhoods and business districts, as well as establishing policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide. It supports the City Planning Commission and each year reviews more than 500 land use applications for actions such as zoning changes and disposition of City property. The Department assists both government agencies and the public by providing policy analysis and technical assistance relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, waterfront and public space.

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