City seeks 111-block rezoning for contextual districts with height limits. On May 5, 2008, the Department of City Planning certified its proposal to rezone 111 blocks in the East Village and Lower East Side sections of Manhattan. The proposal covers an area bounded by East 13th Street to the north, Avenue D to the east, Delancey Street to the south, and Third Avenue to the west. Once considered the densest concentration of people in the world, the two neighborhoods are generally comprised of four- to seven-story, 19th and 20th century tenement-style buildings with a variety of ground-floor commercial uses.
Manhattan Community Board 3, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and local officials worked with City Planning to devise a strategy that would preserve the existing scale and character of the area, with an eye towards providing affordable housing opportunities. In an effort to halt the recent construction of towers built away from the street line, the proposed rezoning would include streetwall requirements throughout most of the area. Of the six proposed zoning districts, the largest is a 59-residential-block area above East Houston Street, which would be rezoned to R8B for a FAR of 4.0 and a height limit of 75 feet. Over 28 percent of the lots within this area would not be in compliance with the proposed rezoning.
In addition, the proposal would establish an inclusionary housing bonus for the proposed R8A and C6- 2A districts along East Houston, Delancey, Chrystie and Pitt Streets, as well as along Avenue D and Second Avenue. The bonus would award participating developers with an increase in density from 5.4 to 7.2 FAR, amounting to a 33 percent floor area bonus.
The proposal also includes the sale of City-owned property located at 302 East Second Street. The sale would facilitate an HPD-sponsored development that would yield 116 residential units, including 23 affordable units, and 7,844 sq.ft. of groundfloor retail.
According to City Planning, the proposal could potentially result in an overall increase of 1,383 residential units for the area, 348 of which would be affordable, and a reduction of 74,439 sq.ft. in commercial space.
The proposal is now with Board 3 for its review.