We’ve Filed to Stop the Superscrapers!
Sign the petition to stop the superscrapers now: http://benkallos.com/petition/stopsuperscrapers
Yesterday, we filed the most sweeping residential re-zoning plan by a community group in New York City history. I was proud to lead the effort with East River Fifties Alliance, with co-applications to the Department of City Planning by Council Member Daniel Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and State Senator Liz Krueger.
The new zoning plan for the Manhattan area between 52nd Street and 59th Street, east of 1st Avenue, will restrict supertowers and over-development in the neighborhood with a contextual height cap of up to 260 feet, incentives for schools, and a requirement for mandatory inclusionary housing.
East Side skyscrapers could be capped under new City Council zoning plan for Manhattan apartment buildings
by Erin Durkin, January 21, 2016
"We are drawing a line on the march of superscrapers at billionaire's row to protect our city's residential neighborhoods," said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who submitted the plan along with Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan).
Our application will protect our neighborhood from overdevelopment that could result in many skyscrapers.
This would instead be height capped and replaced with responsible development that would incentivize building more schools and require affordable housing.
The re-zoning proposal was sparked by the out-of-scale 1,000 foot megatower proposed by the Bauhouse Group on East 58th Street between First Avenue and Sutton Place. That proposed tower would exploit the loopholes in the 1960’s era zoning designation that still dictates construction on in the Far East Fifties, and which sets no specific height limits on apartment buildings, despite new technologies that allow for super-tall, skinny towers.
Community members and I acted fast in response to the proposed Bauhouse tower. After the Our Town newspaper covered the Bauhouse plan on April 7, I published an opinion editorial in opposition to the out-of-scale tower, and circulated a petition opposing superscrapers in residential neighborhoods. Community Board 6 passed a resolution calling for height caps in the neighborhood which was sent to the Department of City Planning for consideration on May 13, within 45 days of the news. Over the following months, I visited buildings throughout the neighborhood and spoke with residents about what they could do, including making donations to the newly formed ERFA. In August, The New York Times covered ERFA and Kallos’ efforts against the tower and highlighted the story of Herndon Werth, a rent-stabilized tenant refusing to sell his apartment to the Bauhouse Group in order to save his home and the neighborhood.