Statement of Council Member Dan Garodnick on Proposed East Midtown Rezoning Amendments

We appreciate that the Administration has continued to modify this proposal, but some of the biggest questions remain unresolved.
 
Most significantly, the public needs clear and certain assurances on infrastructure and pedestrian flow improvements in an area that desperately needs them. These issues exist with or without any rezoning, and we need to address these problems today.  Sound planning requires us to commit funds to these improvements before any future development proceeds.
 
There were a variety of good changes made today.  The Administration was right to add a mixed use residential component, flexibility for rooftop amenities, and the ability for landmarks above 49th Street to more broadly transfer their air rights.  These are all changes that the multi- community board taskforce included in its negative resolution on this proposal.
 
The City Council is going to take a hard look at, among other things, questions of appropriate density and the need for public review, objective pricing of air rights, a hotel special permit requirement, and the impact of this proposal both locally and on the city's other commercial districts.  All of this on top of the basic need for significant infrastructure investment to address current challenges.
 
If the Council passes this rezoning, it will do so with significant changes. These amendments are an important first step, but there is much more work to be done, and we will not approve this proposal unless we get it right.