The Real Deal New York

Brewer pushes for stricter zoning

December 12, 2007 02:41PM
By James Kelly

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Developers looking to take advantage of the zoning wiggle room they get
when they build near major city avenues may have to change their ways
if City Council Member Gale Brewer has her way.

Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side, is pushing to change zoning
regulations that allow developers to transfer air rights from “avenue
lots,” to nearby blocks otherwise restricted to low-rise buildings.

Brewer sent a letter to Amanda Burden, the city’s planning department
head, after receiving complaints about Linden78, the new 21-story
residential tower planned for 230 West 78th Street between Broadway and
Amsterdam Avenue. The mid-block structure — which is next to the famed
Stand-Up New York comedy club — was designed by Handel Architects. The
35-unit condo building will cantilever over an adjacent townhouse.

The project’s developer, Urban Residential, is taking advantage of a
zoning regulation that allows him to build the project as-of-right and
buy air rights from a “lot, corner” development on Broadway.

Urban Residential did not immediately return calls for comment.

Brewer’s Dec. 7th letter acknowledged that Urban Residential plans are
in accordance with the law, but argued that the regulation “must be
amended to prevent this type of situation from occurring again.”

Brewer’s office said efforts to change the zoning law have gained
widespread support in the area, including from Community Board 7′s
district manager and from the community organization Coalition for a
Livable West Side. 

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