Volume 76, Number 22 | October 18 - 24, 2006

Letters to the editor

It’s actually an upzoning

To The Editor:
Re “Hearing on major rezoning plan” (news article, Oct. 11):

The article states, “The plan calls for an overall downzoning of the area.” Technically, the plan upzones the entire district. Under current R7-2 zoning, the residential F.A.R. — the measure of building size — is 3.44. The plan as we currently know it recommends a residential F.A.R. of 4 except on Houston and Delancey Sts. and Avenue D, where it will be 5.4, or 7.2 if affordable housing is built in tandem somewhere in the district or within a half-mile of the district.

Throughout the L.E.S./E.V., then, developers will be able to build larger buildings as of right, without asking community board or city permission, and those larger buildings will be allowed to be substantially bigger and taller than the many existing pre-1867 tenements, which typically rise only five stories, far short of the plan’s proposed height limit of 80 feet (eight modern stories).

The planned contextual zoning does eliminate the much used and abused community facility bonus which allowed 6.5 F.A.R. as of right. The plan also imposes a height cap that will curb the purchase of air rights for additional height. It is this planned height cap and the elimination of the community facility bonus which will prevent the tall towers we see rising throughout the L.E.S. These are two of the significant advantages of the new plan over current zoning.

If the Department of City Planning had recommended R7-B (F.A.R. 3), as suggested by the East Village Community Coalition, we would be looking at a truly contextual downzoning, rather than the compromise height-capped upzoning plan currently on the table.

Rob Hollander
Hollander is a member, Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development

Westbeth ‘gang of four’

To The Editor:
Re “Something is rotten at Westbeth” (letter, by Jacqui Taylor Basker, Oct. 11):

As a Westbeth resident and former member of WARC — Westbeth Artists Residents Council — a representative group of tenants elected for two years, I respond to Jacqui Taylor Basker’s comments in last week’s issue of your column:

There was no “outrage” at the Westbeth meeting last week. An attentive audience listened to speakers and watched slides presented by those opposed to the WARC position. They did not refer, as your letter writer does, to “a garbage collection site” but, more correctly, to a transfer pickup point for recyclables — very different language.

The majority of Westbeth residents of which Jacqui Taylor Basker speaks, so far as I can determine, consists of a vocal gang of four with perhaps two or three hidden members, of which Jacqui Taylor Basker, usually signing herself anonymous, is one. Her charge urging readers to connect the dots and suggesting a payoff or whatever criminal intent she has in mind is a piece of villainy.

George Cominskie, duly elected president of WARC, far from exhibiting “dictatorial leadership,” is the soul of patience and a saint to put up with the droppings slung at him.

Miriam Chaikin

Mouthwatering report

To The Editor:
Thank you for Ed Gold’s informative article on the Village Alliance’s efforts to revitalize W. Eighth Street (“W. Eighth St. will be new ‘Culinary Alley,’ Alliance says,” Oct. 4). Honi Klein is to be commended for her vision and persistence with this project, and it’s extremely encouraging that her efforts are being noted by real estate industry experts such as Real Estate Weekly. In addition to W. Eighth St., it appears that the east side of Eighth St. between Fifth Ave. and Broadway is part of the street’s gastronomical redesign, too, with the recent additions of the gourmet sandwich shop Wichcraft and the specialty cookware store Broadway Panhandlers, which has relocated from Soho. Bon appétit, Honi!

Brad Hoylman
Hoylman is first vice chairperson, Community Board 2

Who’s for the birds?

To The Editor:
Re “Out fowl sins!” (Oct. 4, photo story):

Holding the feet of a terrified chicken and then swinging this fully conscious being around one’s head (for whatever the reason) is blatantly cruel and should not be permitted.

A phone call to a well-known animal protection agency led me to believe that there are no laws in place to protect these animals.

Freedom of religion will protect the practitioner and his rituals but who will protect the birds?

Phyllis Stern

Soccer article was a winner

To The Editor: 
Re “Team focuses on improving play, not just winning” (sports article, Oct. 11):

As always we at Downtown United Soccer Club are most appreciative of the descriptive, objective and insightful articles Judith Stiles writes, not only when DUSC may be the subject, but on youth sports as a whole. This article was especially enjoyable, in its content and singularly descriptive style detailing this tournament, even though our young DUSC-keteers were short on goals but maxed out in spirit. I’m so happy for the Brooklyn Italians that it did not rain this year. It was also great that the parents got some positive recognition. We realize in this day and age it is difficult to find articles promoting the healthy aspects of youth sports as they relate to the kids and parents — except for the sausage and peppers. Again, we at DUSC thank you for capturing these snapshots of players in their formative years. Continue the great work!

Eric Johnson
Johnson is director of travel, Downtown United Soccer Club

E-mail letters, not longer than 350 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel.

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