The East Harlem Neighborhood Planning Study is a part of Housing New York, the Mayor’s housing plan to build and preserve affordable housing through community development initiatives that foster a more equitable and livable New York City. Housing is considered “affordable” if a household spends no more than a third of its total income on housing costs.
In 2002, the Department of City Planning (DCP) rezoned 57 blocks in East Harlem, east of Lexington Avenue and south of 124th Street to East 99th Street, much of which was zoned R7-2, a moderate density residential district. The goals of this rezoning were to encourage new residential opportunities, ensure future development was consistent with the existing neighborhood characteristics, preserve the scale of the mid-block and lead to ground floor retail and services.
In May of 2013, Community Board 11, in partnership with the not-for-profit organization Civitas, published a planning and zoning study of the area between East 115th Street and East 132nd Street, bound by Madison Avenue on the west and Lexington Ave on the east. Informed by over a year of community input, the report made recommendations to update zoning districts and increase density in certain areas, promote affordable housing and economic development, and preserve neighborhood character.
A major factor of the study will also be a Neighborhood Health Initiative. On February 1, 2015, the Fund for Public Health in New York announced its partnership with the New York Academy of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and DCP to work on establishing a local wholesale food hub that will provide neighborhood bodegas and markets with fresh fruits and vegetables, among other goals.
The current East Harlem Neighborhood study expands upon these previous efforts by examining a large geography and incorporating a plan for the preservation and the development of affordable housing. Additionally, the study proposes to identify areas where infrastructure and open space improvements are needed as well as areas of opportunity for economic and community development.
The New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), together with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), is proposing a series of land use actions— including zoning map amendments, zoning text amendments, and amendments to the Milbank Frawley Circle-East Urban Renewal Plan—as a component of its East Harlem initiative, a comprehensive, community-focused effort aimed at identifying opportunities for the creation of new mixed-income housing and the preservation of existing affordable units consistent with Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, Housing New York: A Five-Borough, Ten-Year Plan.
The East Harlem Rezoning Proposal builds upon and responds to the land use and zoning recommendations in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan (EHNP), which was developed through a holistic, community-based planning process by a Steering Committee comprised of local stakeholders led by New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Community Board 11 and Community Voices Heard. Through a series of meetings on various neighborhood topics ranging from open space to zoning and land use, the Steering Committee produced the EHNP report, which includes 232 recommendations for addressing key neighborhood concerns raised during its engagement process.
In February 2016, the EHNP Steering Committee submitted its report to the City for review and to help inform the City’s planning efforts within East Harlem. The EHNP expressed concern that the trend toward new market rate development under existing zoning could change the character of East Harlem and erode opportunities for affordability. The Department of City Planning, using the work already completed by the Steering Committee and the Community Board as a baseline, has engaged in extensive coordination with interagency partners to identify actionable priorities in the Plan. This includes the mapping of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) to require that 20 to 30 percent of new residential units be made affordable on a permanent basis, which will lock-in affordability in the rezoned area for years to come.
The East Harlem Rezoning Proposal reflects DCP’s on-going engagement with Community Board 11, the Steering Committee, DCP’s interagency partners, and local elected officials to achieve the following land use objectives:
The proposed rezoning is expected to result in a net increase of approximately 3,500 dwelling units, a substantial proportion of which are expected to be affordable. The zoning would also strengthen the role of East Harlem as a major transit hub and job center by promoting creation of new job-generating commercial and industrial space. Over ten years, the plan is projected to spur an estimated 122,000 sq ft of stores and restaurants and 275,000 sq ft of office and industrial space.
The East Harlem Initiative is more than just zoning. To respond to non-zoning community goals highlighted in the EHNP, the Department of City Planning and other agencies are identifying and prioritizing new, expanded programs and services, and capital investments that will benefit the community and enable it to thrive. More information will be shared as it becomes available.
The proposed rezoning would replace zoning districts to focus new development on the Park Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Third Avenue, Second Avenue and East 116th Street corridors. This includes mapping Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) Areas to require that permanently-affordable housing units are a part of new developments along these corridors. The proposal would modify and re-map the boundaries of the existing Special Transit Land Use (TA) Districts in East Harlem, and would establish the new Special East Harlem Corridors (EHC) District along major thoroughfares within the rezoning area.
Following the referral of the proposed East Harlem Neighborhood Rezoning on April 24, 2017, DCP has developed a modified proposal called an Amended (A) Text. An A-text is an alternative zoning text that is responsive to the public review process, provides the public with a broader range of options for comment, and allows for a more complete consideration of options for the City Planning Commission to consider. Either the original zoning text or the A-text, or a version of those, may be adopted. The proposed A-text would establish height limits along portions of the Park Avenue Corridor and in specific areas along Third, Second and Lexington Avenues where height limits are not currently within scope for consideration. View the original text that was certified on April 24, 2017 and the amended text filed on August 7, 2017.
The Proposed Actions include amendments to the text of the City’s Zoning Resolution to:
On April 24, 2017, the Department of City Planning certified the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) applications (170358 ZMM, N170359 ZRM, 170360 HUM) for East Harlem to begin the formal review process. The proposal will now be referred out to Manhattan CB 11 for 60 days to review, after which it will go to the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
|ULURP Milestone||Target Dates|
|Department of City Planning Certification||April 24, 2017 – View the presentation|
|Manhattan Community Board 11 Resolution||July 3, 2017|
|Borough President Recommendation||August 2, 2017|
|City Planning Commission Hearing||August 23, 2017|
|City Planning Commission Review||must be completed by October 2, 2017|
|City Council Review||50 days|
Engagement with the community and local stakeholders is an essential component of the planning process in East Harlem. DCP will lead a range of events throughout the land use review process to allow public participation, engagement, and comment on the East Harlem neighborhood planning process. Partnering with DCP on this Plan are the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Department of Small Business Services (SBS), NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and the School Construction Authority (SCA).
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Community Board 11 convened a steering committee comprised of East Harlem community organization representatives and city agencies. The Steering Committee held public community visioning workshops on various neighborhood topics throughout 2016. The Steering Committee produced a comprehensive set of recommendations in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, which serves as a foundation for DCP’s efforts in the East Harlem neighborhood. For more information on the Speaker’s Steering Committee and its East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, check Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s webpage, where you can also submit your feedback.
If you would like to get involved, keep checking this webpage and our Get Involved page for upcoming events.