UPPER WEST SIDE — A plan to preserve the Upper West Side's vibrant neighborhood character will go before the City Planning Commission on Wednesday for a public hearing.
The 13-member commission won't vote on the proposed zoning changes, but they'll hear public input on the proposal, which was crafted by the Planning Department in response to neighborhood concerns about longtime mom and pop stores being replaced by large chain stores.
The zoning restrictions wouldn't dictate what kind of stores could open on the Upper West Side, but they would limit storefronts to under 40 feet on Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues and keep banks to 25 feet on Columbus, Amsterdam and Broadway.
The proposed zoning rules were designed to maintain a neighborhood bustling with a variety of small stores that create a lively streetscape. But critics say the zoning could backfire and even push out some beloved businesses.
Borough President Scott Stringer recently backed the initiative. City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side and has called mom and pop stores "the soul of our neighborhood," sent out an email blast recently urging supporters to attend Wednesday's hearing.
Business groups such as the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District and the Real Estate Board of New York are expected to voice their opposition.
The zoning proposal has inspired other neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, Lower Manhattan and the East Village to consider such changes, Crain's reported this week.
But a Planning Department spokeswoman said the Upper West Side is a "unique situation," and planners don't foresee replicating similar zoning elsewhere.
"We are not aware of any other neighborhood that has the same unique conditions, nor do other neighborhoods have the density to warrant this concern," a Planning spokeswoman said in an email.
The Planning Commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. at 22 Reade St. For the full agenda, click here.