Hudson Square Rezoning Vote Delayed

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The City Council debated the measure but held off on the vote

By Sophia Rosenbaum

The postponement of last Wednesday's land use and zoning meeting provides the committees with only one more chance to vote on the controversial Hudson Square rezoning package ? March 13 at 9:30 a.m.

The committees were supposed to vote on the Special Hudson Square District, which will convert a 34-block area in lower Manhattan from a manufacturing district to a mixed-use district that will bring an influx of residents, a new school and retail development.

But Wednesday's meeting was delayed two hours before it was deferred. Committee members said they were waiting on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's written recommendation for the rezoning. That letter never came.

One of the most contentious aspects of the rezoning package is whether it will include preserving the South Village adjacent to Hudson Square. Proponents of the preservation are worried the nearby rezoning will put pressure on development in the area.

Micki McGee, who has lived in a rent-stabilized apartment on Sullivan Street for 22 years, cares about preserving the South Village neighborhood's character.

"If they don't approve the landmarking of the South Village, we'll probably move," she said.

McGee, who was one of the few Hudson Square residents present at Wednesday's meeting, is not the only person who feels strongly about pairing the South Village's preservation with the rezoning package. She is joined by the ranks of members of Community Board 2, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, preservationist Andrew Berman and Hudson Square residents.

The decade-old rezoning proposal, spearheaded by Trinity Real Estate, which owns 40 percent of the property in Hudson Square, has been working its way through the rezoning process known as ULURP since August.

Trinity has been working on the package with the Department of City Planning for about five years.

Both Stringer's and Community Board 2's recommendation, while non-binding, say the rezoning's approval should be contigent on landmarking the South Village, appropriate building height limits and ample open spaces.

But the proposal is facing a major hurdle in its home stretch that includes the City Council's Land Use Committee, a brief look-over by City Planning and a final vote by the City Council at the stating meeting March 20.

The land use committee's recommendation must be completed prior to City Planning's monthly meeting on Thursday, March 14.

Berman, who is an advocate for historical preservation in Greenwich Village, has high hopes that the committee will vote in favor of landmarking the area and reducing the building heights for the proposed Hudson Square District.

"We're less concerned about the delay and more concerned about the outcome," Berman said.

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