Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick on July 9 announced the formation of the East Midtown Steering Committee. Made up of stakeholders and chaired by the Borough President and Council Member Garodnick, this commences the second phase of the East Midtown rezoning proposal, with phase one focusing on the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor.
The East Midtown Steering Committee will conduct a ground-up process to study and identify the area’s needs and to develop a framework for the rezoning. The group will help define future policy changes and make recommendations to the City Planning Commission.
“I am pleased to be co-chairing this steering committee with Councilmember Garodnick in response to the process outlined by Mayor de Blasio,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The steering committee’s community-based planning process will be thorough and involve all stakeholders in as open and transparent a process as possible.”
“East Midtown needs an upgrade, and we now have a chance to do it right,” said Council Member Daniel R. Garodnick. “This steering committee will help us make sure that decisions are made in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders.”
“The East Midtown Steering Committee, under the leadership of Borough President Brewer and Council Member Dan Garodnick, will bring together key stakeholders to advance a critical conversation on the future of East Midtown, ensuring that the multiple interests of this complex community are included in the formation of recommendations for zoning and other actions, including coordinating new development with appropriate infrastructure and city services,” said City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod. “I congratulate the Borough President and Council Member for their leadership and look forward to providing the support of the Department of City Planning.”
With the help of a facilitator hired for the purpose, the steering committee will begin meeting in September and hold meetings twice a month with the goal of delivering a final set of recommendations to the Department of City Planning by Spring 2015.
The committee will review a wide range of topics, including the need for updated commercial building stock in East Midtown, the appropriate density for the area, historic preservation, transit and other infrastructure priorities, and environmental concerns.
The steering committee membership will include one representative from each of the following:
Community Board 5
Community Board 6
The East Midtown Multi-Board Task Force
Municipal Art Society
Landmarks Conservancy and Historic District Council
Regional Plan Association
Real Estate Board of New York
Grand Central Partnership
East Midtown Partnership
The steering committee will also meet with other stakeholders who will be impacted by the rezoning including religious institutions and individual property owners.
The committee will have technical support as needed provided by relevant city and state agencies.
The conversation about rezoning East Midtown began in 2013, when Mayor Bloomberg’s administration offered its own plan for the area. That plan was thwarted by lack of support from the City Council, in hopes of restarting a more deliberative process under the new Mayor’s term. Mayor de Blasio, Council Member Garodnick, and Borough President Brewer announced the new two-part redevelopment approach for the area in March 2014.