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Governors Island rezoning process is now underway

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The city has officially initiated the public review process

Max Touhey

Mayor Bill de Blasio has just announced the commencement of the public review process as part of the city’s efforts to rezone parts of Governors Island.

The rezoning aims to allow for 4.5 million square feet of mixed-use development on the northwestern and southeastern section of the island, that could result in hotel, dorms, offices, and academic or cultural institutions. Due to a 2003 agreement with the federal government, residential development is forbidden, even though parts of the island is zoned for it.

According to Crain’s, the city is planning to host its first public hearing next month, as part of the environmental-review process. Input from Manhattan Community Board 1 and the Governors Island Community Advisory Committee helped to establish “guiding principles” for future development on the island. Those principles are centered around retaining views from within the island, complementing and enhancing the park and public spaces, responding to environmental conditions, establishing a “harmonious relationship with the park, esplanade and Historic District;” encouraging flexibility for a wide range of development types, and promoting innovation when it comes to designs for resiliency and environmental sustainability.

“Governors Island’s 43-acre park has made it the jewel of New York Harbor,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “The Island is now set to dramatically expand its role in our city’s economy as we turn its southern half into a center of innovation and education.”

Following the public review process, City Council is expected to vote on the rezoning in fall 2019.