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Same Harlem, New Zoning Regulations

Real Estate Developments

The New York City Planning Commission recently certified a new rezoning proposal in East Harlem designed to benefit lower-income residents. It is currently moving through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), and if approved, will likely go into effect sometime this fall. The new rezoning is expected to lead to the development of up to 3,500 housing units, most of which will be affordable for lower-income families.

The proposed rezoning would affect a 96-block area bordered by Second Avenue to the east, Park Avenue to the west, East 132nd Street to the north, and East 104th Street to the south. Within that area, developers are already bidding on available space. One project involves the construction of a massive 655-unit housing development on East 111th Street, with sixty percent (60%) of units reserved for families earning less than $50,000 per year.

Unlike some of the other rezoning initiatives currently under review, the East Harlem proposal has seen very little community backlash. In fact, such rezoning was early advocated by the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan—an amalgamation of local residents’ ideas for neighborhood improvement, organized by some of the same people on the ULURP committees.

Besides copious affordable housing, this rezoning proposal also includes plans to revamp the entire community. The proposal calls for all developments with ground-floor commercial units to ensure that those units are open for business – specifically, businesses that benefit the public. For example, the East 111th Street project includes plans for a supermarket, YMCA, healthcare facility, job-training center, and a charter school. Finally, the proposal provides for expansion of the Second Avenue subway, in order to open up the area to the surrounding communities.

Pursuant to ULURP, Community Board 11 has sixty (60) days to review the proposal. A public hearing is scheduled for May 16 at 6:30p.m. at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

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