New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Releases

Progressive Caucus Passes Nearly 50 Bills in Current Council Session

Thursday, December 21, 2017

New York, NY – On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, the New York City Council passed several bills endorsed by the Progressive Caucus in its current session policy platform. Including the bills passed today, the Caucus and its members have sponsored and advocated for the passage of nearly 50 bills representing crucial advancements in progressive issues including tenant safety, workers’ rights, affordable housing, and community safety.

The bills passed today endorsed through the Progressive Caucus’ Current Session ‘Advancement Agenda’ include: (1) Community Land Trusts (I. 1269), which amends the administrative code of NYC as it relates to creation of regulatory agreements with community land trusts; (2) Asthma Allergens (I. 385), which calls to regulate indoor asthma allergen hazards in residential dwelling and pest management; (3) Right to Request Flexible Schedule (I. 1399), which protects employees who seek temporary changes to their work schedule for personal events and certain scheduling changes; (4) Right to Know Act, a legislative package that aims to protect the civil rights of New Yorkers while promoting communication, transparency and accountability for everyday interactions between NYPD and the public; and (5) Automatic Benefits (I. 855), which would support a study regarding the feasibility and cost of utilizing City administrative data to determine individuals who are likely eligible for public assistance and to provide electronic notices of eligibility. The nearly 50 passed bills endorsed by the Caucus are listed at the end of the release.

Thousands of Subsidized Units Will Return to Affordable Housing Under Legislation that Passed the City Council

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Registration required for thousands of previously unaccounted for affordable homes with fines for bad landlords

Upgrading Housing Connect to include existing affordable housing with notification for eligible units so residents can apply all in one place

New York, NY – Landlords failing to provide required affordable housing in exchange for city financing, tax breaks or additional density will have to register their units and offer new and existing units to residents for rental in one location or face escalating fines under legislation that passed the New York City Council yesterday. Introduction 1015-A, authored by Council Member Ben Kallos and sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Brewer, and Housing and Buildings Chair Williams was introduced in response to a ProPublica report estimating that New York City has paid developers $100 million for 50,000 affordable units that might not be offered for affordable rates.
 
“New York City is in desperate need of affordable housing. It is a crisis, and we cannot allow landlords to hide even a single unit of it from the public,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “We need a full accounting of every affordable unit of housing in the City, and we need regular monitoring and strict enforcement. If New Yorkers are going to pay billions of taxpayer dollars to developers in exchange for building affordable units, we need to ensure residents in need can actually get that affordable housing.”
 
New York City and State for decades have failed to hold landlords and developers accountable for agreements like 421-a, J-51, and Article XI. In 1993 New York State eliminated penalties for failing to register, allowing thousands of building owners to ignore the law for years and charge rents above the legal limit. These programs provide direct financing, decades-long tax abatements, or additional density to landlords and developers in exchange for building and maintaining affordable housing units whose tenants have income that meet a certain percentage of the Area Mean Income. Together these programs cost the city roughly $1.2 billion per year in tax revenue, but much of the affordable housing is getting lost. ProPublica found that owners of 15,000 buildings — receiving over $100 million from the city — failed to register any affordable units, leaving New Yorkers roughly 50,000 units short of what they paid for. After hearing this legislation, Mayor de Blasio identified 37,141 apartments that were avoiding $304 million in property taxes while failing to comply with the 421-a affordable housing program.

Improving City Assistance to New Yorkers in Need through Notifications and Pre-Filled Applications to be Studied Under Bill Passed by the New York City Council

Friday, December 22, 2017

Improving City Assistance to New Yorkers in Need through Notifications and Pre-Filled Applications to be Studied Under Bill Passed by the New York City Council

 

Hunger, Housing, Health, and Child Care Benefits Among 40 Human Service Benefits That City Will Study to Improve Participation
 
New York, NY - On Tuesday, December 19 the New York City Council passed legislation to study the cost and city’s technical ability to provide pre-filled applications for assistance programs and proactive notice to potential applicants in an effort to sign up more residents who already qualify, but do not participate.
 
Assistance for low-income New Yorkers who are in need of hunger, housing, health, childcare, or 40 other assistance programs through notifications and pre-filled applications will be studied by the city, under Introduction 855-B authored by Council Member Ben Kallos and passed by the Council.

 550,000 of the 2.3 million New Yorkers who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not getting it, according to the city. In 2011, Community District 8 on the Upper East Side, represented by Council Member Ben Kallos was first in the city for SNAP under-enrollment with 91% of eligible seniors not enrolled, according to LiveOnNY.
 
“No one should go hungry, lose their home, or go without healthcare in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, especially when assistance programs have been created to help those in need,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I hope that the city’s study will save tax payer dollars by taking advantage of the legal research, grants, and software that we’ve already secured for the city. Next year, we’ll have the information we need to eliminate the bureaucracy, paperwork, and unnecessary hurdles that prevent our poorest from accessing and keeping the assistance they need to be lifted from poverty.”

Lowering the Volume on After Hours Construction Noise in New York City Passes Council

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lowering the Volume on After Hours Construction Noise in
New York City Passes Council


City to Respond to After Hours Noise Complaints When They Are Happening or Likely to Happen Again
 
Noise Limit Lowered for After Hours Construction in Residential Neighborhoods

 
New York, NY – Noise is the top complaint in New York City with booming construction surrounding residents who complain only to see their concerns go unaddressed for days or met with a small fine paid by developers as a cost of doing business. After hours noise will be targeted with new rules for responding when the noise is still happening or is likely to happen again, turning down the volume on after hours construction noise in residential neighborhoods over the next two years, and empowering the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to shut down equipment that is too loud. Introduction 1653-B was authored by Council Member Ben Kallos in collaboration with DEP who helped improve it and co-sponsored by Environmental Committee Chair Costa Constantinides, which passed that committee and is on track to pass the City Council today.
 
In 2016, violations went down as complaints went up, according to the New York Post. Analysis found that noise complaints peak dramatically after 8PM then falls after midnight with a second increase between 7AM and 9AM according to Pratt Professor Ben Wellington in The New Yorker.
 
 

Geographic Diversity Tracking Bill Passes Vote in Education Committee

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Geographic Diversity Tracking Bill Passes Vote in Education Committee
 Legislation Aims to Measure Diversity in NYC Public Schools
  New York, NY – Today the City Council’s Education Committee passed legislation that would measure the number of children from each neighborhood who apply to attend a particular school, the number of seats available at each school, how many offers of admission were made, and total enrollment in all public schools. The bill introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos will also require the Department of Education (DOE) to issue reports on the number of individuals who applied for, received offers for, and enrolled in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, sixth and ninth grade in DOE schools. 

The reporting required under the legislation will show the current geographic diversity in NYC schools, whether there are sufficient numbers of school seats in each neighborhood, and how many children are being turned away from the public school system because the City lacks the capacity to allow children to attend school in the neighborhood in which they live. The information would be reported by community school district and by individual school. The information would be disaggregated by grade level, community school district of residence of individuals, primary home language of individuals, and zip code of individuals.

“The fact is we need more school seats and we need more transparency from the Department of Education. We have a growing city and the more useful data we can get the better our children will be served,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “The Mayor’s promise of ‘Pre-Kindergarten for All’ must include enough seats in every neighborhood, including the Upper East Side. Parents in my district are giving up on our public schools and with it our government and parents who can’t afford private school are being forced out."
According to records obtained by Council Member Kallos in 2015, 54% of would-be pre-kindergarteners on the Upper East Side were not offered school seats in their zip codes. For the 2017-2018 school year, more than 900 four-year-olds applied for a total of 596 seats available for this school year. A decrease of 22 seats from the previous school year. This means that at least one in three four-year-olds will not be offered a seat in their neighborhood.

In 2016, in School District 2, which spans from the Financial District to the Upper East Side, 1,696 preschoolers took the Gifted and Talented exam, 838 of whom were deemed eligible for the program, and 652 applied. However, according to Department of Education, only 346 received offers, leaving 47% of applicants, a total of 306 preschoolers, without access to the coveted program.

The aforementioned data for these two programs indicates a larger problem which extends to general enrollment. This legislation seeks the data from the DOE needed to enact changes in order to give the City Council the ability to do so.  

James Cagney Place Officially Designated a City Plaza

Friday, December 1, 2017

James Cagney Place Officially Designated a City Plaza

After 42 Years, Closed Section of East 91st Street Becomes Official Plaza

New York, NY,– Residents at James Cagney Place today, welcomed the news that a section of East 91st Street that has been closed to vehicular traffic for more than 40 years -- and renamed James Cagney Place in 1989 -- was officially recognized as a Pedestrian Plaza under the NYC Department of Transportation’s (DOT)  NYC Plaza program Round 10. The award notice came after three years of effort by Community Board 8 Members Rita Popper and Dave Rosenstein, with support from Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and in partnership with sponsor Ruppert-Yorkville (R-Y) Management, which helped form Friends of James Cagney Place LLC.

In 2017, the Friends of James Cagney Place organized free events including a jazz festival, movie night, Halloween Parade, and the tree lighting to build community support and demonstrate the import of a protected plaza as a community resource. These events are in addition to daily use by residents walking their dogs, seniors enjoying passive recreation, and children sledding on this section of Carnegie Hill when it snows.

STATEMENT: On Successful Rezoning of Sutton Area

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New Yorkers are tired of out-of-control, out-of-scale development destroying affordable housing and the shape of our residential neighborhoods.

Today, the City Council voted to stop the march of supertall buildings from commercial districts on 57th Street into residential districts, where they would displace rent-regulated residents to build buildings for billionaires.

In 2015, we formed the East River Fifties Alliance which has grown to 45 buildings in the area, and 2,600 individuals from 500 buildings all over the city with support from Friends of the Upper East Side Historic District, CIVITAS, and citywide organizations like the Municipal Arts Society.

Council Member Dan Garodnick, Senator Liz Krueger, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joined me as co-applicants and Congress Member Carolyn Maloney has joined in support.

We worked with the Department of City Planning on several options for providing affordable housing as part of our proposal. DCP ultimately advised that with the change to a Tower on a Base, the best way to produce affordable housing was through the existing inclusionary housing framework, which is what we approved today. DCP has also agreed to improve the inclusionary housing program citywide.

We removed a grandfathering provision that the City Planning Commission had added inappropriately and City Planning has voted that removing this provision was “in scope.”

This rezoning will protect octogenarians like Herndon Werth and seniors like Charles Fernandez and his sister who faced displacement from their affordable, rent-regulated units.

The vote today is in support of residents over luxury real estate developers, putting affordable housing for real New Yorkers over buildings for billionaires.

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NEW SECTION OF ANDREW HASWELL GREEN PARK OPENS NYC Parks Completes Phase 2A Construction on an East River Open Space

Monday, November 20, 2017

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Community Board 8 197A Task Force Co-Chair Barry Schneider,Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione, and community members to celebrate the completion of Andrew Haswell Green Park Phase 2A construction.

“Thanks to the many city and state funding partners of Andrew Haswell Green Park, New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the views of the East River and the Roosevelt Island tram while in the shadow of Alice Aycock’s monumental sculpture, the “East River Roundabout,”  said Commissioner Silver. “A unique location, this latest addition to the greenery on the Upper East Side, will draw visitors looking for a place to relax and appreciate the city scene from a new vantage point.”

"We are rebuilding the East River Esplanade block by block, street by street and park by park," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "The completion of Andrew Haswell Green Park phase 2A represents more open green space for the residents of the East Sixties. Thank you to the New York City Parks Department for their dedication and commitment to getting this park open. East Siders will now be able to enjoy it and its wonderful views of the river"

Transparency Watchdog Praises Council Votes Improving Open Data Law and Advancing Online Voter Registration

Friday, November 17, 2017

Int. No. 1701-2017 (Vacca) upgrades the NYC Open Data Law and most importantly requires the City to publish on the Open Data Portal information the status of data sets and makes it much easier for the public to track how well the City is complying with the Open Data Law.

1528-A-2017 (Vacca) requires agencies to list the names of data sets that have been requested via FOIL request. This will make it much easier for the public and the City to understand what data the public is requesting and should be published as open data.

Penalties for Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) Pass New York City Council

Thursday, November 16, 2017

New York, NY – Over 538 privately owned public spaces (POPS) attached to 329 buildings that received additional area to build will be required to provide the amenities promised or face steep fines for bad landlords, under legislation that passed the Council today. The legislation is part of package authored by Land Use Chair David Greenfield and Council Member Ben Kallos.
 
In August 2016, Trump Tower Commercial, LLC, was fined $10,000 in violation of their POPS agreement for having an unapproved sales counter in a space designated for the public. The New York Times has highlighted the shortcomings and non-compliance of POPS in 19771987, and 1998 followed by the publication of “Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience,” authored by Jerold Kayden and the Municipal Art Society in 2000. Comptroller Scott Stringer audited 333 POPS finding 275 had not been inspected by Department of Buildings in four years with more than half failing to provide all required amenities in April of 2017.

Online Voter Registration to Pass New York City Council

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New York, NY– Following a historic low in voter turnout in New York City’s 2017 General Election for municipal offices, the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations today passed legislation to implement online voter registration. The legislation is slated for passage by the New York City Council on November 16. Relying on an opinion by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman which allows online voter registration by localities, Council Member Ben Kallos authored the legislation, which will require the City’s Campaign Finance Board to create and maintain a secure website and mobile app allowing New York City residents to register to vote online.
 
Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia offer limited forms of online voter registration according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New York currently only allows residents with a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver license, learner permit or non-driver identification to register online. However many residents of color cannot use New York State’s only online voter registration system as Hispanics are twice as likely as Whites to not have identification (10%) and Blacks are more than two and half times as likely as Whites not to have identification (13%) according to Project Vote.
 
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman paved the way for this legislation to pass in April of 2016 when he issued and Informal Opinion to Suffolk County officials advising that “online voter registration, including use of electronically affixed handwritten signatures is legal in New York State.”

“Democracy should be a click away. We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be registered and receive a confirmation by email, just as with any other website,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a longtime voting rights activist and free and open source software developer. “Barriers to registration must be removed so that anyone who is eligible to register can do so quickly and easily.”
 
As a proof of concept, Council Member Kallos built a working demonstration in a couple of hours using the same Drupal free and open source software used by the White House with the Webform module available for anyone to test taking a picture of their signature with a feature phone or using their finger or a stylus to digitally sign at BenKallos.com/form/online-voter-registration-demo

Open Budget Legislation Authored by Council Member Kallos Passes City Council

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Searchable and Computer Readable Budget Will Open Up $85 Billion in Spending for Public Review

 

New York, NY – How New York City spends $85 billion just got more transparent with the passing of legislation from Council Member Ben Kallos that requires all budget documents released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to be publicly released on its website and the Open Data Portal in a searchable and computer readable format, instead of only printed or in lengthy PDFs.

 “New Yorkers should be able to search the city’s budget to see how every penny of their tax dollars is being spent,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer, and open data advocate. “Thank you to Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland for their partnership in advocacy for an Open Budget.”

School Food Accountability Bill Expected to Pass City Council

Monday, October 30, 2017

New York, NY- What is for breakfast lunch, and dinner along with how many children actually eat it is on the menu and passing the City Council thanks to legislation authored by Council Member Kallos. The Department of Education will now report on all school meals for 1.1 million public school children and on planning measures to increase participation in programs like Breakfast After the Bell and the newly announced Universal Free Lunch.
                                                                                      
"No public school child should go hungry in one of the wealthiest cities in the world," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "With the addition of universal lunch, New York City offers a number of options for meals to our students. But we must make sure our kids and families are participating and the food they are served is nutritious.”

"Intro 773-B enables us to ensure that the Free School Lunch for All and Breakfast After the Bell initiatives reach their full potential.  Given the extraordinarily high cost of living in New York City many families are struggling to make ends meet and school meals guarantee that students have the fuel they need to thrive in school." said Liz Accles, Executive Director, Community Food Advocates.

Legislation Supporting LGBTQ Students Authored by East Side Middle Schoolers and Council Member Ben Kallos Passes NYC Council Education Committee Vote

Monday, October 30, 2017

New York, NY – Today, the New York City Council Education Committee passed Introduction 1638,authored by East Side Middle School students, who are representatives to the Manhattan Leadership Council, and introduced by Council Member Kallos and Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm. This legislation requires reporting on which middle and high schools have a Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club, the number of teachers, principals, and administrators at each school who have received lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and gender non-conforming (LGBTQGNC) training.

A GSA is a student run club that provides a safe place for LGBTQ students and their allies to meet, have discussions, offer support, and plan events and activities, usually with the aim of raising awareness. According to Advocates for Children of New York, the presence of a GSA in school decreases anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment and makes students feel safer and more comfortable.

This legislation was introduced in response to a doubling in the number of hate crimes in New York City since last year, with anti-transgender incidents cited by the NYPD as a major cause. According to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in their 2013 National School Climate Survey, “74% of students were verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 55 % because of their gender expression. As a result of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, 30 % missed at least one day of school in the past month.” However, “LGBT students in schools with an LGBT-inclusive curriculum were less likely to feel unsafe because of their sexual orientation.”

“The rise of hate crimes nationally and in the City means it is more important than ever that the City supports our LGBTQ youth through these student-run clubs,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Education Chair Danny Dromm for his lifetime of leadership on education and in the LGBTQ community, it is an honor to partner with him and the students on this legislation. New York City has always been a leader on LGBTQ issues and that includes supporting our students I am proud of the entire City Council for seeing the need for this legislation”

Activists, Council Members say the Only Way NYC Will Meet Climate Goals is with Whole Building Retrofits

Monday, October 30, 2017

Today, the Climate Works for All coalition released its plan to reduce NYC’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12%, by requiring comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits at the city’s large buildings.

Buildings in NYC contribute to 70% of the city’s emissions.  While Mayor de Blasio has announced a commitment to mandate the reduction of on-site fossil fuel usage in large buildings, Climate Works for All, a broad coalition of labor, environmental justice, faith, and community organizations, argues that the retrofits must go further and include the use of electricity from the grid and central steam as well.

The City will only meet its ambitious target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 if it requires a whole building approach.

“The Climate Works for All plan is a strong step forward for New York City’s sustainability efforts and a positive example for cities across the country,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Vice-Chair of the City Council Progressive Caucus. “By paying attention to the way large buildings are built and focusing on the environment, we will demonstrate that we can create an environmental agenda filled with opportunity for workers and that helps the environment. The Progressive Caucus has endorsed a Climate Works for All proposal on building retrofits that protects affordable housing and we look forward to continuing our work to come up with the best legislative package possible.”

Testimony to the City Planning Commission New York City Council Member Ben Kallos RE: Land Use Review Application N 180082 ZRM In Support of Rezoning the Sutton Area

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I am here today to give testimony in support of the community-led grassroots zoning text change application submitted to the Commission by the East River Fifties Alliance in partnership with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and me. ERFA, the community coalition leading this application, consists of 45 buildings, represented by co-op boards, condo boards and individual owners, and over 2600 individual supporters living in more than 500 buildings within and beyond the rezoning area.

Thank you to Commission Chair Marisa Lago, Vice Chair Kenneth J. Knuckles, and the members of the City Planning Commission for hearing us today. Thank you as well to your staff, and in particular to the Department of City Planning’s community affairs and Manhattan Borough offices’ professional and dedicated work in handling this application.

In the Sutton Area, a small residential neighborhood by the East River in Midtown Manhattan, we have come together to envision a community that welcomes new construction while protecting the rent-regulated tenants who have lived in our neighborhood for decades, like our friends Herndon Werth and Charles Fernandez.

We are here to support real housing for real New Yorkers, including affordable housing, instead of 800-foot-high full-story penthouses built to serve as investments, often for foreign speculators.

We envision a residential community in the Sutton Area where new buildings serve the needs of the local community and of the City as a whole, adding to our housing stock for working people and fitting the shape and character of our neighborhood.

We have seen the super-tall buildings at 432 Park and 111 West 57th Street, and we believe they have no role on quiet side streets in fully residential neighborhoods. When I first learned that the super-tall buildings could creep onto our residential side streets, I wanted to do something that had not been done before: to organize the community to propose our own plan to rezone the neighborhood for the present and the future. That is what we did, led by residents from the Sutton Area and co-signed by four elected officials: we filed the first ever community-led rezoning at City Planning, which we are discussing today.

This rezoning corrects an accident of history that has left the Sutton Area the only residential neighborhood in the city with uncapped R10 zoning without any further protections. The proposal seeks to impose tower-on-a-base zoning, which would result in squatter, more human-scale buildings, with a dense base and a shorter tower, adding more units to our housing stock, which will be filled by real New Yorkers. Depending on lot configuration, maximum building heights in tower-on-a-base zoning are estimated between 300 and 500 feet, far closer to the built context of the neighborhood than a super-tall building that would cast a shadow all the way across the East River into Queens.

Bicycle Safety Improves on East Side for Third Year in a Row

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bicycle Safety Improves on East Side for Third Year in a Row

Bike Safety Education, Equipment & Enforcement Program Led by

Council Members Kallos and Garodnick Gets Results

New York, NY —  Following an increase in education, safety equipment, and enforcement, bike safety from 30th to 97th streets on Manhattan’s East Side continues to improve as a result of a program led by Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick.  Since the program’s launch by Council Member Kallos in 2014 there has been a reduction in the number of collisions involving cyclists each year, and fewer pedestrians and cyclists injured in collisions.

The NYPD reports 17th and 19th precinct report Year to Date (YTD) through mid-October:

·         1,557 summons issued to bicycles mostly for not giving right of way to pedestrians and disobeying a steady red signal;

·         15,929 moving violations issued to vehicles, with 5,717 violations for improper turns, 2,730 violations for disobeying a traffic control device, and 1,541 violations for not giving right of way to pedestrians among other violations as of August; and

·         103 seizures of “e-bikes” with all but one receiving a summons (ECB/OATH), representing more than 10% of all enforcement with 923 seized citywide;

New York Shifts Course on Big Buildings on Far East Side

Thursday, October 12, 2017

In a reversal, city planners are assisting a group of neighbors trying to halt ongoing construction of an 800-foot tower across from the luxury high rise where many in the group live.

For over two years, the neighbors and a group they founded, the East River Fifties Alliance, has spent more than $1 million drafting an unusual do-it-yourself zoning rule, that could block the tower on East 58th Street near Sutton Place.

City Hall and the city’s Planning Commissioner had lambasted the campaign in the past for a misguided efforts to block a single building to protect views at the Sovereign, an 485-foot tall, co-op.

In June, when asked about an earlier proposal, Melissa Grace, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said, “This proposal would protect the views of a handful of residents who live in a building that is hundreds of feet taller than the height they feel is appropriate and block new buildings.”

At the time, the city planning commissioner, Marisa Lago, said “there is an important distinction between planning based on a sound, land-use rationale and policy-making designed and shaped to stop a specific building proposal.”

But last week, the commission staff released a new zoning proposal by the group and offered support for it. It set an unusual fast-track review process that would enable it to be approved by the commission by Nov. 1, before election day, and by the City Council by mid-November.

“We believe there is a land-use rational,” said Bob Tuttle, a city planner, about the group’s latest proposal at a recent commission meeting. “We understand the community’s desire for height limits.”

But at the meeting, Mr. Tuttle acknowledged that the proposed zoning change, which covers portions of a 13-block area east of First Avenue, would only affect a single development site in the foreseeable future: the East 58th Street construction site.

Both the developer and the community opponents said it would halt the current project, known as Sutton 58 as it is envisioned.

Jonathan Kalikow, president of Gamma Real Estate. which is developing the new tower, warned that this zoning change targeted at his building would have a chilling effect on developers across the city.

“This zoning change, if passed, will have really horrific negative consequences for the city of New York,” he said. Mr. Kalikow said he was rushing to try to complete the complex foundation needed for the tall narrow tower before the zoning change could take effect.

The new zoning proposal grew out of a meeting in August between planners and elected officials, including the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who had joined East River Fifties group in submitting the plan.

Earlier plans by the group had called for strict height limits. The new approach, recommended by the planning staff, would create a new zoning rule that would force developers on side streets to keep much of the bulk of their buildings below 150 feet and only indirectly cap heights.

It would particularly penalize developers like Mr. Kalikow, who obtained air rights from nearby buildings, zoning experts said. The fast-track schedule was made possible after a decision by Ms. Brewer and the local community board to forego hearings on the proposed zoning changes.

John Banks, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry group, noted that Ms. Brewer has long been an advocate for more openness in city government and in land-use decisions. A spokesman for Ms. Brewer said she had already held a hearing earlier this year, on another version of the plan.

 

Alan Kersh, president of the East River Fifties Alliance, and a resident of the Sovereign, said the revised city plan is more “flexible” than the height limits his group first proposed.

He said it would allow for a building taller than what his group had originally proposed, but much shorter than what the developer planned to build.