Land Use

In recent years, the Upper East Side has seen the development of several high-rise buildings that are not in scale or architecturally sympathetic to our neighborhood’s existing built character. In the early 1980’s the Upper East Side was rezoned, allowing higher density development on the avenues within a contextual building envelope that had specific street-wall requirements and height limits. However, advances in high-rise building construction, higher floor-to-floor heights, the use of as-of-right zoning lot mergers to transfer unused development rights to generate more floor area on development sites, and BSA zoning variances have produced unforeseen consequences and challenges to our community’s underlying zoning regulations.

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In May 2014, Mayor de Blasio released his plan ‘Housing New York,’ a five-borough ten-year plan to preserve and expand affordable housing. Key components of this plan include protecting current housing stock, preserving 120,000 units of existing housing, investing in strong neighborhoods by planning with communities, and creating 80,000 new affordable housing units. To achieve these goals, the Department of City Planning (DCP) proposed three initiatives: Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA), Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Neighborhood Studies.

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A joint project with CIVITAS and Community Board 11, the recommendations were developed to encourage the following goals in the community: affordable housing opportunities, economic development and job creation, new buildings that are contextual in scale with their surroundings and revitalization of Park Avenue.

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CIVITAS is concerned with the scale of projects recently being proposed in East Harlem and in the Upper East Side Historic District. One such site is at Park Avenue and 125th Street. Initially proposed as a 55-story tower,

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CIVITAS is a vocal advocate for reform of allowable bulk for rear yard encroachment for community facilities. A zoning amendment to bring the Upper East Side in line with what is allowed in other neighborhoods

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CIVITAS led a coalition of neighbors and advocacy groups to urge denial of permits and to raise public awareness regarding Mount Sinai Medical Center’s proposed research lab and 540-foot residential tower

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A catering operation that will use the church building at 583 Park Avenue to host large gala events five days a week threatens the distinctively residential character of Park Avenue in the 60s. CIVITAS is actively supporting

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