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Fighting Super Tall Towers with FRIENDS

Council Member Ben Kallos hosted a panel discussion about fighting superscrapers on Thursday, July 23rd. In addition to remarks from Tara Kelly, executive director at FRIENDS, on the current planning and zoning context of the Upper East Side, the large crowd heard from Margaret Newman of the Municipal Art Society, Emma Marconi Bologna of CIVITAS, Terrence O’Neal of the CB6 Land Use Committee, and Dieter Seelig of Sutton Area Community.

In light of as-of-right development threats, in response to the city’s proposed Zoning for Quality and Affordability text amendment, and in preparation for any future zoning changes to the Upper East Side, it is critical to understand the way the current zoning and land use patterns have already shaped our neighborhood. CB6 Land Use Chair Terrence O’Neal underscored this importance by pointing out the lack of height limits for new buildings in R10 (or equivalent) zoning districts located on Third, Second, First, and York Avenues, highlighted on the map in blue. This is in stark contrast to the 210 foot height limit in place along East 72nd, 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets as well as much of Park Avenue.

FRIENDS has been engaged in planning and zoning issues since our founding in 1982. To address zoning concerns like these, we have commissioned a report by BFJ Planning to focus on ways we can preserve the character of the Upper East  Side and make specific recommendations for the future of our neighborhood. Keep an eye out for the release of our findings this fall.


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Upper East Side Zoning | Source: BFJ Planning

Upper East Side Zoning | Source: BFJ Planning