The Villager [via Curbed] is reporting that the East Village rezoning push that we wrote about last month received unanimous approval at a fall Community Board 3 meeting on Sept. 27. The rezoning, based on a survey outlinned by B.F.J. Planning that was commissioned by the East Village Community Coalition, specifically deals with Alphabet City and a good chunk of the Lower East Side (the orange on the map is the rezoned area).
So what does this approval mean? Basically that, starting in the next two years, all new construction in the rezoned areas will have a lessened ability to build up thanks to a downzoned F.A.R. (floor-to-area ratio) and a new height cap. The effect of this should be, planners hope, more "contextual" buildings going up on the East Side.
Along with the unanimous O.K., however, two interesting ideas have been dropped from the original EVCC plan because of strong community opposition (though Gothamist can assure you, our fine reader, that both will undoubtedly be back soon enough). The first to go was a zoning overlay proposal along E. Houston that would allow the street to have tall buildings with enforced mixed affordable housing. The second was a proposal to add a commercial zoning overlay along St. Mark's. This second one, which seems more plausible to us, was dropped because it would allow for up to 50 new businesses in ground-floor and basement spaces on a strip that already is essentially a commercial zone (thanks to grandfathering and illegal renting).
As they are implemented, these changes, for good or for bad, are going to have a long-lasting and powerful effect on a the development of the East Village/Lower East Side. Having grown up in the area, Gothamist understands the why of the rezoning but isn't so sure about the long term goodness of it. But what about you, do you think height caps and reduced F.A.R.s are the way to go?