Recommends rejection of current 125th Street rezoning proposal pending creation of broad plan for affordable housing, local businesses, and neighborhood preservation.
Borough President Scott M. Stringer recommended today the conditional disapproval of the proposed 125th Street rezoning until it is modified to provide affordable housing opportunities for current Harlem residents, target assistance to local small businesses at risk for displacement, and create a preference for local non-profit arts groups. Stringer unveiled a blueprint for a Harlem-wide development strategy that should be paired with the rezoning.
Stringer said, “We need a plan for Harlem, not just a plan for 125th Street. We need to work together to make sure that future development enhances and reinforces the Harlem that exists today, rather than displacing longtime residents and businesses. There is still time in the public process to make sure that occurs.”
Stringer joined Harlem’s Community Boards in demanding significant changes to the current plan. In his detailed ULURP recommendation, the Borough President calls for a two-part plan to ensure that the rezoning meets Harlem’s needs and priorities.
First, the Borough President calls for a number of changes to the zoning proposed by the City:
- Reduce the heights of buildings, and redistribute density as Harlem’s Community Boards have requested.
- Capture as much value as possible in bonuses for affordable housing and arts-related uses.
- Target a range of incomes for affordable housing opportunities, in particular the Harlem community’s median incomes.
- Use the arts bonus to support local institutions, not just national and international companies, by including a local preference process.
- Reinforce 125th Street‘s commercial character by requiring buildings to put commercial or retail frontage facing 125th Street instead of residential entrances.
Second, the Borough President calls for the rezoning to be paired with a greater “Harlem-wide Development Strategy” that goes beyond zoning tools. This would include:
- Developing city-owned properties in Harlem for income-targeted housing that utilizes local developers and meets community housing goals.
- A comprehensive, multi-agency strategy for retaining and aiding local businesses, so the area is not dominated by chain stores.
- Long-range planning for infrastructure, especially the schools and libraries that will be necessary for a growing residential population.
- Creating a community-based plan for transportation along 125th Street that minimizes traffic on residential streets and improves the pedestrian
- Take advantage of programs focusing on cultural retention in Harlem, such as designating a State Heritage Area that would provide official recognition, and funding opportunities, for Harlem’s history and culture.
- Landmarking key historic sites such as Harlem’s historic library buildings.
- Providing construction protections for historically significant, non-landmarked, sites
- A 125th Street-wide construction mitigation task force that would involve the community in managing construction and traffic caused by new development.
“The current plan should not be approved until the Harlem community has been made a full partner in the rezoning and had its planning goals and priorities met,” said Borough President Stringer. “I am hopeful that I have provided a roadmap for how this rezoning can become a victory for Harlem and the City.”
The complete text of Borough President’s Stringer’s ULURP recommendation is available at: http://mbpo.org/release.asp?id=1
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