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Carter Ledyard represented the East River Fifties Alliance (“ERFA”) in its successful though controversial application to amend the New York City Zoning Resolution to prevent the development of ultra-tall towers in the Sutton Place neighborhood (between First Avenue and the East River, from 52nd to 59th Streets), the only residential neighborhood in the City where such towers were permitted as-of-right. We successfully contended throughout a two-year zoning review that these towers, at 800 feet or more, are out-of-scale with the existing residential context and were not contemplated when the R10 zoning was first mapped in 1961. Despite intense developer opposition, the Community Board, City Planning Commission and City Council ultimately agreed with ERFA and its co-applicants Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Members Daniel Garodnick and Ben Kallos and State Senator Liz Krueger. The final proposal, approved by the full City Council on November 30, replaces standard tower rules with “tower-on-a-base” rules, which effectively limit ultra-tall buildings through minimum lot coverage and floor area “packing” requirements, while still accommodating future housing growth in the neighborhood. ERFA was represented by Senior Environmental Counsel Steve Kass, Partner Chris Rizzo, and Associate Karen Meara.

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