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June 24, 2003

Public Affairs Officer: (212) 720-3471


June 24, 2003, New York, NY - Department of City Planning Director, Amanda M.
Burden, announced today that the City Council voted to approve the Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone 57 blocks in East Harlem. The Department's initiative for East Harlem encourages growth on First, Second and Third avenues from 99th Street to 122nd Street, while preserving the character of midblocks. The current zoning, primarily residential, has remained largely unchanged since 1961. This is the first comprehensive rezoning in Upper Manhattan in more than 40 years. Through zoning map and text changes, the rezoning will provide substantial opportunities to increase housing in this growing community, while ensuring that the scale of all new development is compatible with the prevailing neighborhood character.

"I am pleased to announce the Council’s approval of this rezoning. This will continue to build on the momentum of growth that East Harlem is experiencing and provide new opportunities for housing development, while at the same time ensuring that its unique character is preserved," said Amanda M. Burden. "I would like to thank Community Board 11 and CIVITAS, whose collaborative efforts with the Department helped conceive and advance this important proposal."

The zoning area is within the central portion of Manhattan, Community District 11, and is bounded generally by East 122nd Street on the north, Pleasant and First avenues on the east, a point 100 feet east of Lexington Avenue on the west and East 99th Street on the south. By amending the zoning map, the proposal would satisfy the need for housing in this growing neighborhood by increasing the permitted size of residential buildings by 50 percent along First, Second and Third avenues. In these locations, this would result in buildings up to 12 stories high. In addition, it will ensure that new development results in building forms that are consistent with the prevailing character of East Harlem. Along the east-west streets, contextual districts with height limits of six to eight stories would be mapped to preserve and reinforce the low-rise character in these areas. Throughout the rezoning area, contextual zoning replaces "height factor" zoning, which encouraged tall towers set back from the street.

The Department has worked closely with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) to address the need for affordable housing in the proposed rezoning area. In December, 2002 the Mayor announced his housing plan, "The New Housing Marketplace: Creating Housing for the Next Generation," in which East Harlem was named as one of many communities where a targeted rezoning could catalyze increased housing development and economic vitality. In conjunction with the adoption of the rezoning, HPD and HDC have committed $12 million from the housing plan for a period of two years to subsidize affordable housing within the rezoning area. As with its projects elsewhere in the City, at least half of the new units in HPD and HDC-sponsored housing developments would be set-aside to be rented or sold to current residents of the community.

About City Planning
The Department of City Planning is responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review; preparation of plans and policies; and provision of technical assistance and planning information to government agencies, public officials, and community boards.

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