Thursday, April 05, 2007

Columbia Espectorates Stringer Zoning Plan

In the current Columbia Spectator, the paper takes a look at BP Stringer's West Harlem re-zoning plan, and finds a number of locals deeply skeptical. In particular, the criticism focuses in on the failure of the plan to deal directly with the Columbia development and to focus instead on the after shocks.

As one CB #9 member told the Spectator, the Stringer plan is "too narrow," and should include the 18 acres in the eye of the university's expansion project. In addition, "Some believe that the zoning proposal inappropriately assumes that Columbia's expansion will go forward as planned." This is precisely the criticism that we have leveled at the plan, and we did so because we feel that the concerns that Stringer makes public are not sui generis, but stem inexorably from Columbia's grand vision.

It is this vision itself that needs modification, and the effort to do so will go along way towards preserving the affordability that the BP wants to see preserved in the West Harlem neighborhood. It is noteworthy that the Spectator finds that, "Perhaps the most intriguing part of the plan, particularly for West Harlem residents, is the proposal's inclusionary zoning plan."

Yet, as we have said before, if this kind of zoning works well for the outlying areas why shouldn't it be applied to the the central 18 acres, the precipitating cause of all of the concern? We believe that this will be a crucial issue once the Columbia application is certified.