Manhattan elected officials call on city to crack down on zoning workarounds
By Sam Raskin
Manhattan elected officials and neighborhood groups on Monday called on the city to prevent
developers from circumventing zoning regulations in an ongoing fight against specific buildings
being constructed and planned in more residential parts of the borough.
During the hourlong press conference on the steps of City Hall, the officials spoke to the need
for the city to ensure developers play by the rules and don’t buck the letter or spirit of zoning
laws — a pattern they said often leads to “out-of-scale” development, diminished
neighborhood character and blight.
“We are simply asking that the BSA and the Department of Buildings make sure developers are
playing by the rules that are already in the books,” Council Member Ben Kallos said. “If these
tactics continue without being checked by the city, what is the point of having zoning
Kallos lamented the presence of tall, slender developments with a small base as a tactic
developers use to build at heights above what is appropriate — something he said forces
people to “live in the shadows of billionaires who are parking their money in empty units.”
Kallos has also pushed to beef up land use staff in the Council to exercise better oversight.
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