MHCC Continues Pushing For Contextual Rezoning

At a meeting with the City Planning Department the MHCC reiterated its proposed plan for rezoning certain areas of Morningside Heights by limiting building heights, eliminating the “as of right” use of “air rights’ and combining conjoined lots to build excessively high structures. MHCC’s Preliminary Rezoning Plan – an overview of the entire neighborhood showing the proposed zoning designation for each block – was originally presented by Barry Weinberg, MHCC Board member and now also chair of Community Board 9, at a meeting held in February 2018 and attended by about 175 residents.

The proposed increases in density, mostly along the avenues, will be sufficient to trigger Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH), while maintaining the current pattern along the side streets. (Under MIH developers are required to provide some affordable housing as part of new construction.)  However, because of the City’s narrow criteria for recognizing “soft sites,”(those vulnerable for development), many owned by local institutions, as well as an unwillingness to conduct a rezoning study, the present pattern of luxury high-rise buildings, without any affordable housing, will continue. Real estate taxes will keep rising, as will rents, displacing more long-term tenants.

The Coalition hopes that an ongoing campaign led by our Councilmember Mark Levine and Borough President Gale Brewer, combined with media attention and high-level changes in the City administration, may soon lead to decisive action.

Over 1,000 signatures have already been gathered on petitions supporting contextual rezoning for Morningside Heights and extending the historic district. The petitions will be presented to elected officials at the Community Town Hall on September 19 and sent to City agencies.

Thanks to those who already signed the petitions. If you would like to sign them contact: harryschwartz23@gmail.com

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