Government briefs


Dec.December 01, 2008 04:57 PM


Rezoning for East Village, LES approved


The City Council approved the 111-block rezoning in the East Village and Lower East Side last month. The zone runs from Grand to 13th streets, bounded by the Bowery and Avenue D. The rezoning limits building heights to 80 feet on side streets and 120 feet on main streets. In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the rezoning “will prevent new out-of-scale towers from undermining the existing building stock and established streetscapes.” He also said the rezoning will create an opportunity for new and affordable housing to come to wider streets. The mayor said he expects the rezoning to spur development of 1,670 additional housing units over the next 10 years.

City Council approves Willets Point

The City Council approved the Willets Point redevelopment plan last month, which will allow for more than 10,000 new apartments in the area, more than half of which will be below market rate. To move the controversial project forward, Mayor Michael Bloomberg increased the planned number of affordable housing units and struck deals with the three largest landowners in Willets Point so they could keep their businesses there, according to published reports. In a separate vote, the Council approved the 30-acre Hunter’s Point South redevelopment plan.

Bloomberg says no to homeowner rebate

After the City Council told Mayor Michael Bloomberg last month that he was legally required to send out $400 rebate checks to about 600,000 homeowners, Bloomberg said he had no plans to send out the money. Bloomberg, who said the city needs the cash this year, announced at a news conference that homeowners who had been waiting for the money should “plan for the worst.” The mayor had previously announced that the rebates would be canceled to save the city $256 million. But, it turns out, that the mayor cannot legally withhold the checks without City Council approval.

Tin Pan Alley may receive landmark status

A group of New Yorkers is pushing for landmark status for Tin Pan Alley, a series of four-story row houses on West 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue that used to be home to the publishers of “God Bless America,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and other famous songs. The buildings were put on the market for $44 million this fall, but a plan to replace them with a high-rise fell through as the economy slowed. Preservationists, spurred to action by the construction plan, are now hoping the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will grant the buildings landmark status. The commission said it is researching the buildings’ history before making a decision, the Associated Press reported.

LMDC board members say full staff no longer needed

Members of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation say the board’s full staff is probably no longer needed, now that the board has allocated most of the federal World Trade Center reconstruction funds, the New York Post reported. The group held monthly meetings before former Governor Eliot Spitzer took charge of it in 2007, but has only held seven public meetings in the last 17 months. The board’s approximately 50 staff members are paid a total of $4.2 million per year.

Bronx 911 call center project on hold

The Department of Design and Construction has put a planned 911 call center in the Bronx on hold after project costs rose from the $670 million originally projected to $957 million. The NYPD says the call center — a 37-story, 400,000-square-foot building — is critical to the city, which routes all of the 1 million 911 calls received each month through the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. The Bronx center would take over half of those calls, but would also be capable of taking all calls during an emergency. The city had hoped to finish the building by the end of next year.

Compiled by Linden Lim


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