Letters, Week of Nov. 7, 2013

Clearing the air on air rights

To The Editor:
Re “Park bill still up in the air, forum to consider air rights” (news article, Oct. 24):

A very extensive story, but a few points must be clarified: I did not say that if “the St. John’s Center’s zoning is modified to allow residential use…that is not a problem.” I did say that there might be waterfront sites where modifying the allowable use — such as for residential as opposed to hotel development — as opposed to allowing larger development, might be found acceptable. But we have made no such decisions about any particular site, and this is an issue that the entire impacted community must weigh in on.

The community board was notified about a month in advance about the Nov. 13 community meeting we and about two dozen other groups were planning, and the only people who knew about it before they did were the organizations who put it together. Finally, a 1-million-plus-square-foot building is hardly a flagpole. There are many examples, such as those I mentioned, of very substantial buildings of this size reaching that height. And the current zoning, even without the potential addition of hundreds of thousands of square feet of air rights, allows a building to reach at least 900 feet in height.

Yes, we are raising alarm bells. This provision has some very alarming implications, and it is important that the public be made aware of them.
Andrew Berman
Berman is executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

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