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CB3 Resumes SPURA Deliberations

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A week from tomorrow (March 30th), Community Board 3’s Seward Park redevelopment committee will meet to continue discussing urban design issues. According to an updated agenda, there will be an “interactive exercise for the committee to consider building massings, heights and spatial tradeoffs.” The agenda also indicates there will be a “discussion on feasibility of upzoning on the SPURA sites.”

Committee Chairman David McWater said the “upzoning” conversation was scheduled at the request of CB3 member Barden Prisant.  In the past, city officials have suggested large scale rezoning of the SPURA parcels is not practical (although some modest zoning changes seem likely). For one thing, they’ve argued that putting up a series of 20-30 story buildings on the site would be bad “urban design.” For another, the planning officials have said larger buildings would significantly increase construction costs.

But Prisant and a few other affordable housing advocates on the committee have wanted more specific information. John Shapiro, the urban planner working with CB3, has expressed doubts that any more than 800 apartments could be built on SPURA. But some activists have pushed for a higher number, on the theory that more overall housing would translate into more affordable units.

We’ve posted a few SPURA stories since CB3’s last meeting. If you need to catch up, here are the links:

CB3 Begins SPURA Design Work

City Releases SPURA Document; Requests Drawings for New Essex Street Market

SPURA Document Dump

Follow-up: Plans for a New Essex Street Market

The next SPURA meeting will be held Wednesday, March 30th, at 630pm, at the Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street.

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