Speakers mob City Planning hearing on Midtown East rezoning

August 07, 2013 05:30PM

The City Planning Commission held a mobbed hearing at which some 113 speakers signed up to deliver testimony for and against the controversial Midtown East rezoning plan, Curbed reported.

Deputy mayor Robert Steel spoke for the pro camp, while City Council members Dan Garodnick, Jessica Lappin, Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger, preservationists from the Landmarks Conservancy and the Historic Districts Council spoke against the project.

Attendees reportedly responded enthusiastically when Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, took the stand, pointing to the need to protect the jobs of unionized hotel workers and calling for a special hotel permit that would prevent all new buildings in the area from being offices or condominium towers.

Key issues remain largely unchanged: those in favor of the plan point to outdated commercial buildings and the shabby nature of the 70-block chunk of land bounded by 42nd Street, 57th Street, Fifth and Third avenues. Developers, landlords, prospective tenants, business owners and brokers lead the pro-camp, while those against the plan point to potential issues with overcrowded subways and streets, landmark preservation, ugly high-rises, affordability, light and air density.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer came out with conditional support of the rezoning project last week, as previously reported. [Curbed]Julie Strickland