Will Obscure Charter Provision Be Used in Gowanus?
Opponents of the controversial rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem, which has been bitterly criticized by some community residents, have turned to an obscure provision of the City Charter to try to derail it. The Harlem rezoning would allow up to 2,500 new apartments in the dozens of blocks that it covers and for buildings 120, 160 or 290 feet tall, depending on where they are located. The rezoning was approved by the City Planning Commission last month and the City Council has until the end of April to vote on it. This is where Page 74, Section 200, Subsection 3 of the City Charter come into play. It says, per the New York Times:
that if signatures opposing a rezoning are obtained from the owners of 20 percent of the property, as determined by square footage, in one of three different areas — the area to be rezoned, the area adjacent to the property being rezoned, or the area “opposite” the property (for example, across the street) — then the City Council must approve the rezoning by a three-fourths vote, instead of by a simple majority.Since yesterday morning, two emails from Carroll Gardens and Gowanus groups have mentioned the possibility of using Section 200, Subsection 3 "on Bond Street" and "the Gowanus sites." Given the intensity of opposition among some property owners in the immediate Bond Street area, the method could find a receptive audience.