By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — The City Planning Commission unanimously approved two rezoning plans Tuesday to limit building heights in the East and West Villages.
The first rezoning covers eight blocks along Third and Fourth avenues in the East Village, between East 13th and East 9th streets, and will cap building heights at about 12 stories.
Advocates and elected officials in the neighborhood pressed for the rezoning because of the recent influx of high-rise dormitories and boutique hotels in the area.
"The Third Avenue Corridor rezoning proposal follows in the spirit of the [110-block] East Village and Lower East Side Rezoning," said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, "helping to extend the continued protections of this vibrant area's neighborhood character while also promoting the very strong local and citywide need for affordable housing."
The plan provides incentives for building permanently affordable housing in the designated area, and allows City Planning to restrict the size of new large office buildings, dormitories and other community facilities.
The West Village rezoning encompasses six blocks along Washington and Greenwich streets, roughly from West 12th to West 10th streets, and will limit building heights to about eight stories.
Preservationists and elected officials pushing for the designation had previously worried about a flood of new condo and commercial high-rise buildings in the former manufacturing area due to its half-century-old zoning regulations.
Burden said the relatively small rezoning will "make a big difference in protecting the character and scale of this neighborhood," noting that it "will ensure that the historic building stock along these streets is protected and that the residential community is no longer threatened by out-of- character commercial development."
The rezoning plans now await a final vote from the City Council.