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New Rezonings to Limit Building Heights in East and West Villages Takes Effect

By Patrick Hedlund | October 28, 2010 11:36am
NYU's 26-story dorm building on East 12th Street.
NYU's 26-story dorm building on East 12th Street.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — New heights limits along two development-friendly corridors in the East and West Villages took effect Wednesday following the City Council's approval of rezoning plans in both neighborhoods.

The East Village rezoning covers eight blocks along Third and Fourth avenues, between East 13th and East 9th streets, and will cap building heights at about 12 stories.

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.

Both designations were proposed to stem the influx of high-rise development, specifically hotels in the West Village and college dormitories in the East Village.

"We are deeply gratified that after many years of fighting for these rezonings, they are now a reality," said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which first proposed the East Village rezoning in 2005 and the West Village rezoning in 2008.

"The new zoning, which these communities requested and fought for, will go a long way towards protecting these residential neighborhoods' precious character and scale," he added.

In addition to preventing high-rise dorms, like New York University's controversial 26-story tower on East 12th Street, the East Village rezoning also provides incentives for building permanently affordable housing in the designated area.

The East Village rezoning, which was supported by the local community board and elected officials, originated as an outgrowth of the 111-block rezoning of the East Village/Lower East Side, which did not include the stretches of Third and Fourth avenues.

GVSHP pushed for the West Village rezoning partially in response to a planned 100-room hotel and another large mixed-use building, both on Washington Street. Wednesday's designation will now prevent both structures from being built in their current form.

"The Far West Village has been under assault from oversized and totally inappropriate development for many years," Berman said. "This zoning change will ensure that the Far West Village does not become the city's next major hotel district, and it will help preserve its low-scale, historic, residential character," he added.