The City Council approved today a proposed rezoning of the Lower East Side, putting in height limits for new buildings throughout the area.
The Bloomberg administration has pushed the rezoning as necessary to both boost the amount of below-market-rate housing in the neighborhood and to scale back the incidences of skinny skyscrapers that have popped up. The rezoning, which covered 111 blocks, generally keeps densities similar to those that exist currently, increasing them in some spots, though it establishes height caps of up to 80 and 120 feet.
The city estimates the rezoning would allow for 1,670 new apartments in the area, 560 of which would be below market rate.
The rezoning generally enjoyed support from the community and the Council, though some residents were critical of the city for omitting Chinatown and the Bowery from the rezoning area.
The rezoning runs from 13th Street to Grand Street; from just east of the Bowery to Avenue D.
From a statement by Department of City Planning director Amanda Burden:
“Our rezoning plans for the East Village and Lower East Side will protect and preserve two of the City’s most significant and diverse neighborhoods, which have played such an important role in the social, cultural and political life of the city. The rezoning plan adopted today will not only protect the area’s unique building stock, but will fulfill the community’s desire for and the Bloomberg Administration’s commitment to affordable housing.”