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Council Speaker to hold forum to gauge ideas for E. Harlem rezoning

East Harlem is on target to be the city's next big rezoning project, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants to make sure the community gets a say in its future.

Members of the speaker's East Harlem Neighborhood Plan will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the DREAM Charter School to look at the land use, affordable housing development and other aspects of a proposed rezoning of the area within Manhattan Community Board 11.

Mark-Viverito, who represents the area in the City Council, will hold more meetings until January and give the city a road map for rezoning. "You have to take time and effort to educate people and get it right," she said.

Mark-Viverito said there hasn't been a pre-planning process of this scale yet. The plan, which was helped with Community Board 11, the Manhattan Borough President's Office and other local groups, includes a website,, where people can submit suggestions and get information on future zoning.

The speaker said the two biggest concerns from residents are enhancing services in East Harlem, such as schools, public space and job creation while at the same time conserving the nature of the community.

Mark-Viverito said the zoning changes could bring anything from more affordable housing units, to new schools or huge condos and major commercial properties, so it is important that City Planning knows what's the best for East Harlem's future.

"If you want to think about rezoning, well then it has to include these issues that the community wants," she said.


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