Testimony on Third Avenue Corridor

Testimony before the Department of City Planning regarding the Re-zoning of the Third Avenue Corridor

August 24, 2010 

Thank you for this opportunity to testify before you today regarding the rezoning of the Third Avenue Corridor.  I fully support the re-zoning  of  this area, especially in light of the fact that the Bowery is an important part of an area rich in historical significance and is abutted by several neighborhoods that have already received the protection that comes from appropriate zoning including the Special Little Italy District, the NoHo Historic District and the west side of Bowery. In light of this, it seems only appropriate to protect the Third Avenue Corridor as well.

The area in question is surrounded by low rise low density neighborhoods that are protected by zoning that preserves their character, but the efforts to maintain these areas’ character will be for naught if we allow out of scale development to emerge in this section of the neighborhood.

This is a location that is prime for development and the proposed building heights of 120 feet or lower would allow for new projects to revitalize the area without degrading its overall character. As we have seen in other areas of the city, creating protections for only one side of an area allows for wildly out of scale buildings to come face to face with those that typify classic historical landscapes, creating jarring juxtapositions that diminish the cohesiveness of the streetscape.

In addition, the incentives associated with this zoning for developers who include affordable housing as part of their projects is essential for the residents and workers in this area, who contribute much of what makes the area unique and desirable.

It is for these reasons that I request that you enact the zoning changes proposed today, so that we might save this area from out of character development and ensure that future structures are bound by law to respect the existing aesthetic and character of the neighborhood that has been built up over so many years.