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Plan to Dramatically Redraw East Harlem Unveiled by City

By Dartunorro Clark | October 19, 2016 2:22pm
 Erik Olson of the city Planning Department presents the East Harlem rezoning plan at the community board meeting.
Erik Olson of the city Planning Department presents the East Harlem rezoning plan at the community board meeting.
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NYC Planning

HARLEM — A plan to dramatically redraw East Harlem has been put forward by the city.

The proposals would rezone a swath of the neighborhood between East 104th and 132nd streets from Park to Second avenues, and between East 126th and 132nd streets between Madison and Fifth avenues.

The city's draft that was presented to Community Board 11 Tuesday evening suggests allowing for high-density in residential and commercial areas with new buildings as high as 35 stories. There would also be better pedestrian access, public space and transit infrastructure.

Some areas, such as Madison Avenue, would have limited rezoning to preserve their character, with building there limited to eight stories.

The city's plan includes a special “transit district” for the anticipated Second Avenue Subway construction, which would “integrate subway infrastructure into mixed-use buildings.”

Calvin Brown, a representative from the city's planning department, said public input was being encouraged.

He said the proposed rezoning is “development that makes sense for East Harlem and not just the city's goals."

“We did not do this in a vacuum and we take this approach seriously,” he added.

►READ MORE: East Harlem's Affordable Housing 'Under Threat,' Report Warns

Another significant part of the plan is that Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, a tool that would require a portion of housing built is affordable, would be the “baseline” for the majority of re-zoning in residential areas

Many residents have raised concerns regarding the levels of affordability proposed at many current housing developments, often exceeding the median income of a family in East Harlem which is estimated at about $23,000. 

The city was unable to say Wednesday how much affordable housing would be created under the plan, or the levels of affordability. 

Brown said the process for additional housing affordability would be at the discretion of the city's Department of Housing and Preservation Development.

One of the main concerns from residents at the meeting was that the rezoning encompasses an area occupied by New York City Housing Authority developments from East 112th to 115th streets. It could potentially place commercial businesses on green spaces within those developments, they said.

The city, however, still has a long way to go.

It plans to present again sometime in late fall and the extensive Uniform Land Use and Review Procedure, known as ULURP, which requires months of steps — including community board and city council approval — is slated to begin in April 2017. 

Check out the presentation below:

East Harlem Proposed Rezoning Plan by DNAinfoNewYork on Scribd