UWS City Council member wants retail rezoning for district

November 16, 2011 11:26AM

From left: Council member Gail Brewer, a Duane Reade and Bank of America on the Upper West Side and REBNY President Steven Spinola
Tired of chain drugstores and banks replacing mom-and-pop shops on the Upper West Side, City Council member Gail Brewer has been trying to implement zoning laws that would restrict larger stores from moving into the area, the New York Post reported. She said the trend is compromising retail variety for residents of the area.

Brewer has been meeting with the Department of City Planning to devise legislation that works towards that goal, including laws that set a minimum number of stores per block and maximum amount of ground-floor frontage along key Upper West Side corridors. Other possible zoning changes are similar to the ones Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is proposing today for a seven-mile stretch of Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn.

REBNY President Steven Spinola told the Post the plan was “ridiculous.” He believes it would just encourage fast food restaurants and electronic stores, as a similar rezoning on East 86th Street has done.

“There has been difficulty renting out the space on 125th and on East 86th Street it didn’t work at all,” Spinola said. “Sometimes the city doesn’t learn from its mistakes.” [Post, 4th item]