Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sunset ParkTower of 42nd Street Succumbs to Pressure

The 12-story building on 42nd Street in Sunset Park that would have been triple and quadruple the height of most of its neighbors and would have blocked views from the park itself, is no more. The developer has backed off from plans and will build a 5 1/2 story building on the site. The Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors, (SPAN)--a group of residents, homeowners and activists prompted by the development--claimed victory yesterday afternoon.

“We sliced that building in half!" said Johnny Trelles, a founding member of SPAN who lives across the street from the proposed building at 420-42nd Street in Sunset Park. “With this major battle won, the Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors will continue until we win the rezoning war.”

Councilwoman Sara M. González, who organized a meeting to "outline for the developers the full breadth" deemed the cutback "certainly unusual in my experience."

An emailed release from the Sunset Park group said:
When they heard about plans to build the 12-story building, local residents who oppose irresponsible, out of context development quickly organized, held rallies and turned out in force for community forums and events aimed at preserving the character of the neighborhood. They enlisted the support of the local community board, elected officials, city agencies and activists from nearby neighborhoods who are experiencing a similar onslaught from developers.

“We are concerned about increasing and rampant non-contextual new development in Sunset Park,” said Ivette Cabrera, another founding member of SPAN. “Many other nearby communities like Greenwood, South Slope and Bay Ridge have been rezoned and we deserve the same protection from these developers.”
There will be a press conference to announce the building's size reduction at Noon today. A "march and vigil" that had been planned for Sunday is now a victory celebration. It will take place at 12:30PM in front of the construction site at 420-42nd Street.

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