Late last month, Community Board 3 approved the “Urban Design Principles,” a set of guidelines for the development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) in the Lower East Side. The agreement was finally reached after 40 years of the land being used as parking lots and community organizers arguing over the area’s appropriate redevelopment. SPURA, as the area is called, is the largest tract of city owned, undeveloped land in Manhattan.
The design principles for the parcels south of Delancey Street serve as a springboard for an environmental assessment plan set to begin later this year. Community Board 3′s land use committee will address specific points about the environmental review in a meeting scheduled for next month. Although the city supports the community board in general, officials have not weighed in on the specifics of the plan. Some NY politicians, however, have expressed support for the plan.
The design principles include a cap on building height, with the buildings on lots 1, 3 and 6 not allowed to exceed 14 stories; site 2 buildings not to exceed 24 stories; and one other 24 story building is allowed on either lots 4 or 5. The plan also calls for a public park at least 10,000 sq. ft., a pedestrian overpass over Delancey Street at Essex, and guidelines for the development of small businesses, while discouraging big box, Wal-Mart-esque chain stores.
To the relief of other activists in a similar long standing debate, the land use committee will also address issues concerning the Essex Street Market, which we reported on earlier this week. The meeting is scheduled to be held July 27th, at 6:30 p.m., at University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street. Community input is welcomed, so if you live in the neighborhood, you should stop by.
Via The Lo Down NY