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Preservationists Angry Over Proposal to Increase Height Limits

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As predicted, there's some pushback against proposed changes to the zoning code that would allow for taller buildings in "contextual zoning" districts. Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation argues that the changes, part of the city's report "Housing New York: Zoning for Quality and Affordability," would "undo years of hard work by West Village and East Village residents to protect their neighborhoods from oversized development, and maintain their neighborhoods' scale and character." In addition to giving developers and architects more flexibility with facade design (in hopes that they would create less bland, more attractive buildings), the changes would allow buildings to go taller if affordable housing was included.

Berman says that many contextual districts were hard-fought and are meant to "stop out-of-scale new construction" by imposing "specific height limits and streetwall requirements" to make sure new buildings fit in with the neighborhood. Even if changes are pushed through to lessen these restrictions, Berman argues, a "better" building simply comes down to the developer and architect—not the zoning laws. And he may have a point there. Who really thinks that anything will make Gene Kaufman and Karl Fischer change their ways?
· Mayor's Rezoning Would Undo Years of Progress [Villager]
· Better Buildings [Curbed]