Category: Blog Post


East 50s Residents: How to file a complaint with the Department of Buildings

By Team ERFA,

We know many of you are deeply concerned about the active construction site on east 58th Street.
Those that are most affected by the construction on East 58th Street can express complaints about unsafe conditions, after hours work without a permit, and legitimate concerns about the construction by:

 

We do not encourage spurious complaints, but we do urge you to make your voice heard if you have legitimate complaints, especially if they concern personal safely, the safety of your building, or if work is being performed after hours without a permit.

Please keep us informed of any complaints you make.  Be sure to give the address of the construction site: 430 East 58th Street in your complaint to 311 or include it in the subject line of your email.  You must ask the operator for a complaint number, which provides assurance that the complaint will be properly logged in. Then let us know the complaint number so we can monitor it.
If you send a message to Rick Chandler, please forward a copy to us. You can provide this information to us by writing to info@ERFA.nyc.
Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Ben Kallos are following up on this issue. Their offices are able to track complaints made to 311 and we will also make them aware of complaints you send directly to Rick Chandler.
The developer is permitted to work M-F, 7 am-6pm Crews are allowed to be onsite to get ready to work before 7, but are not permitted to start work until 7.  On weekends, if they have an after-hours variance permit, they are allowed to work from 9 am-5 pm.
If you are able to take pictures which illustrate your complaint, please submit them along with the complaint and/or send them to us with date/time information.
This is not someone else’s fight or concern – it’s yours if it affects you personally. And we encourage you to act.
Don’t think your neighbor will do it – both of you should, every time there is a concern or violation.

ERFA PROPOSAL WINS BACKING FROM LANDMARK WEST!

By Team ERFA,

New York, July 17, 2017 – The East River Fifties Alliance (ERFA) announced today that it has gained the full, formal endorsement of LANDMARK WEST!, the decades-old organization whose record of achievement for community  preservation on Manhattan’s Upper West Side includes the creation of the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District, advocating for contextual zoning and, recently, the continued protection of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist from a condo conversion that would have destroyed defining elements.

In a July 12 letter to Marisa Lago, Chair of the City Planning Commission, LANDMARK WEST! urged Chair Lago and her fellow commissioners to approve ERFA’s unprecedented citizens’ application to the City of New York for a zoning change to prevent the construction of supertall residential towers in the East River Fifties area and to encourage community diversity.

Co-signed by Kate Wood, President, and Sean Khorsandi, Interim Executive Director, the letter stated: “The ERFA proposal is a serious, thoughtful response to the spread of towers of extraordinary height that is transforming our city’s skyline, changing the scale of our streets, straining infrastructure, raising serious questions about safety, challenging sustainability, and casting shadows.”

It added, “The unchecked, out-of-scale, ‘as-of-right’ nature of these structures underscores the need for a hard look at policies that facilitate the disruption of the quality of life on our streets by blotting out the sun. There are few areas on this planet where a 1,000-foot tower represents regulation, or a limit on building size or height. There are even fewer where it would be viewed as a harbinger of a pleasant environment. Under no definition could the appearance of such a colossus in long-established residential neighborhoods such as the tidy enclaves of Sutton and Beekman Place yield anything else but catastrophe.”

Alan Kersh, ERFA President said that LANDMARK WEST!’s support is a powerful and influential force in the fight against the proliferation of Billionaire’s Row superscrapers into quiet residential neighborhoods. He said, “Our two-year campaign gains an enormous amount of momentum with this endorsement. We welcome the support of Landmark West! as part of our coalition that also includes Municipal Art Society, Friends of Upper East Side Historic Districts, CIVITAS, and New Yorkers for a Human Scale City.

ERFA’s proposed zoning change application has been officially – and unanimously — approved by the full board of Community Board 6, and the Office of the Manhattan Borough President.  State Senator Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and New York City Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Daniel Garodnick are co-applicants.

The City Planning Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on the application later this summer. If approved by the Commission, the application is expected to win approval from the City Council. At that point, it would become part of the City’s zoning law.

The East River Fifties – roughly the area between 52nd and 58th/59th Streets east of First Avenue — is the only residential neighborhood in New York City zoned R10 (the City’s highest-density zoning category) without any type of contextual protection for its residential side streets.  For this reason, it is uniquely vulnerable to the development of supertall towers, a building form that was neither contemplated nor feasible when the local zoning district was created in 1961.

ERFA has seen a steady growth of widespread interest and support for its goals, which — as of July 17th — comes from 2176 supporters in 347 buildings within and beyond the rezoning area.

Robert Shepler, Co-chairman of the ERFA Leadership Committee, said, “The coalition’s proposal embraces the City’s goals of planned growth, increased affordability and contextual protection for residential neighborhoods. It is among the first, if not the first, proposal from a neighborhood coalition to combine these goals.

“Right now, R10 zones throughout the city only create about 4-5% affordable units with each new development. That does not meet the city’s needs and gives away too much to developers. The coalition embraces the Mayor’s goal of creating affordable housing in new developments, and the proposed zoning change supports that goal. If fully implemented, the ERFA plan would more than double the amount of affordable housing in new developments in the East River Fifties neighborhood,” Mr. Shepler said.”

In the ERFA proposal, new building heights in the East River Fifties would be capped at 260 feet. The height of more than 91% of the existing buildings in the proposed Rezoning Area is equal to or less than the proposed 260-foot maximum limit, a statistic that has supported contextual rezoning approved by the Commission for other neighborhoods. (To be sure, there are taller existing buildings in the area, but they are largely located on or close to the wide commercial corridors of First Avenue or 59th Street, which are expressly excluded from the proposal in keeping with the City’s practice of allowing more height and density on such corridors.)

ERFA’s proposal is expected to generate 823 units of new housing, almost as many as projected under the existing R10 zoning (888 units) using the Planning Commission’s required assumptions.  If the 888-unit projection is adjusted to reflect the ACTUAL plan filed by the developer for the 58th Street site (which provides for luxury-sized apartments), only 708 units would be projected for the Rezoning Area under the existing zoning – which is actually LESS than the amount projected under ERFA’s proposal.

To see the press release, click here.

Community Board Six Unanimously Approves Resolution in Support of ERFA’s Proposed Zoning Change

By Team ERFA,

Friends and Neighbors –
I’m pleased to share with you the news that at a public meeting on Tuesday evening, the full board of Community Board Six voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of the zoning change proposed by ERFA and its co applicants. As a significant procedural milestone in a formal public review process, the resolution is expected to be presented in the form of CB6 comments to the City Planning Commission early next month.
Co-applicants Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, Councilmember Ben Kallos, and State Senator Liz Krueger all hailed the decision as a victory for the community at large. The Borough President is also expected to provide official comments in support early next month.

 

As you all know, we have been working with the Department of City Planning for almost two years in order to get this far. Now we are more energized than ever. We hope to move this initiative to completion with a ‘yes’ vote from the City Planning Commission and then final approval from the full City Council – and we hope to have your continued enthusiasm and support for this final leg of our work together to prevent out-of-scale development in this community.

 

To read the full press release, click here.

The individual and collective voices of ERFA supporters have been critical to our success so far and will become even more important as we move forward together.Watch your emails and the ERFA website for plans on what is next, as well as a notice for the next Town Hall!

Alan Kersh
President

HERE’S WHAT’S NEXT IN THE PROCESS AND HOW YOU CAN HELP

By Team ERFA,

Friends,

Thank you to those that attended the June 14th CB6 meeting.  Our showing was strong, our voices were clear, thoughtful, and passionate.   There’s more to come and we need you there.

ERFA needs community residents to come out strongly to the next two meetings as well.  Show your support for your community – for our common desire for smart, contextual development and to prevent the very real out-of-scale development we are now facing.

These hearings and meetings are the City process.  They are critical steps along the way to getting our rezoning proposal passed.  Your presence matters.

Joint CB6 and Manhattan Borough President Public Hearing

Date: June 21, 2017

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Auditorium

 

ERFA will present its rezoning application, then public testimony will be taken.  Any member of the public who wishes to offer testimony may do so. If you would like to speak, come with a short statement (no longer than 3 minutes) in support and sign up to speak when you arrive. Even if you would rather not speak, your presence as a community member and concerned private citizen is very important.  Show CB6 and the Borough President that you stand with ERFA.

Special CB6 Full Board Meeting

Date:  June 27, 2017

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Auditorium

Community Board Members will discuss the rezoning proposal and then the full Board will vote.  Show CB6’s board that we are all in solidarity as a community by coming to this meeting.

We’ll be there and look forward to seeing YOU there as well.

This effort takes all of us working together in various ways.  Here are other ways you can continue to help:


Sign the Petition

Let the City Planning Commissioners know that you support contextual development in the East River Fifties.

Volunteer

We need volunteers to coordinate petition signing in their buildings in the neighborhood, and we need feet-on-the-street volunteers next week (Wed, Thurs, Friday) to collect petition names. We need both.  If you are interested, please contact info@erfa.nyc.

Give a financial contribution

Help ERFA continue this fight.  We are only asking for the same consideration for rezoning as has been afforded other neighborhoods in this city.  As we make our way through the City process, we need the continued expertise of our team-planners, media, community organizing, and legal support.  Every contribution is meaningful. Please give generously to support the effort and to fight for your quality of life.

 

Reminder: Come and Show Your Support Tonight

By Team ERFA,

COME AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT TONIGHT

ERFA’s rezoning proposal goes to Community Board 6 and Borough President Brewer for review tonight for the first of 3 CB6 hearings this month.

Your attendance and participation at these public meetings is needed to show community solidarity and support for rezoning to ensure the prevention of the out-of-scale development we are now facing.

There are 3 meetings coming up. If you can’t make tonight’s meeting, please consider attending a subsequent one.

TONIGHT: Public Hearing before Community Board Six (Full Board)
Date: June 14, 2017
Time: 7 p.m.

Location: NYU Langone Medical Center, 550 First Avenue (near 30th Street) – Alumni Hall B

ERFA will present its rezoning application, then public testimony will be taken. Any member of the public who wishes to offer testimony may do so. If you would like to speak, come with a short statement (no longer than 3 minutes) in support and sign up to speak when you arrive. Even if you would rather not speak, your presence is very important.

The rezoning is not just intended to stop the building at 430 East 58th Street, it is intended to address faulty zoning throughout the neighborhood. The current zoning would allow multiple towers in our community while failing to provide sufficient affordable housing.

ERFA and our four elected officials initiated this application for a zoning text amendment that is intended to address ALL of these potentially oversized buildings and their consequences. It comes as no surprise that we are facing opposition from a handful of luxury housing developers who have eyed our unprotected community for years. Please make your voices heard in support of preserving community character.

Additional scheduled public meetings – mark your calendars and come to one:
–June 21st – Joint Public Hearing of CB6 Land Use Committee and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, 6:30 p.m., Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Auditorium

–June 27th – CB6 Special Full board meeting and final vote on our application, 7 p.m, Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Auditorium