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Tomorrow afternoon the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division will consider the use of eminent domain against one of the last remaining business owners in West Harlem, Nick Sprayregen.  Sprayregen’s property lies in the footprint of Columbia University’s campus expansion project area. Those interested are encouraged to observe:

TOMORROW, May 21; arrive at 1:45pm
27 Madison Avenue (Cross St. 25th)
New York, New York 10010
(212) 340-0400
Presiding Justice: Luis A. Gonzalez

Apologies for the late notice on this one, but this meeting was just brought to our attention this morning — Tonight the Department of City Planning will present its preliminary plans for the West Harlem Special District.

Proposed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in 2007, the special district is based in part on Manhattan Community Board 9’s 197-a plan (which was our Community-Based Plan of the Month in April).

According to Stringer, the Special District will include:

  • Contextual Zoning, with density and height limits, to preserve the physical character of the neighborhoods and quell displacement pressures.
  • Community Facility reforms, which would stop grossly out-of-scale developments and discourage dorms and university uses in residential areas.
  • Inclusionary Housing in certain areas, to channel new development toward the creation of housing that is affordable to West Harlem residents.
  • Density bonuses for “business incubators,” to provide incentives for developers to provide affordably priced retail or commercial space to local businesses.
  • Anti-Harassment Provisions and Demolition Restrictions, which would penalize property owners who harass their tenants, and discourage the demolition of occupied sound housing.
  • Special Off-street Parking Regulations, to ensure that parking in the area serves the needs of residents and encourages transit-based development instead of causing traffic congestion and pollution.

Tonight’s meeting is hosted by Manhattan CB9 and will take place at 6:30 pm at Broadway Housing, 583 Riverside Dr.@ 135th Street.

If you are interested in community advocacy on this issue, contact the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization (CPO) at hh-westharlemcpo@msn.com.

The Maysels Cinema in Harlem will be screening  “Rezoning Harlem” this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  This documentary film explores the recently-approved rezoning of 125th Street. Directed by students in Hunter College’s graduate planning program, it follows the opposition to the City’s plan through their struggle to advocate for affordable housing, and against the displacement of viable local businesses and the loss of a one of the world’s most famed African-American neighborhoods.

Maysels presents the film along with three panel discussions:

– Wednesday’s “Community Night Forum” features Monique Indigo Washington of  the Coalition to Save Harlem (pictured above), and Michael Henry Adams, an historian, preservationist, and author of “Harlem: Lost and Found.”

-Thursday’s “Next Steps: Making Community-Based Planning a Reality” features Eve Baron, Director of the Municipal Art Society Planning Center; City Council Member Tony Avella; and Mercedes Narciso, formerly of the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Friday’s “Housing Issues Workshop” features Julius Tajidin.

All three screenings begin at 7:30 pm at the Maysels Cinema, 343 Malcolm X Blvd / Lenox Ave (Between 127th and 128th Streets).  The directors, Natasha Florentino & Tamara Gubernat, will be present for each event.

coalition_to_save_harlem“Rezoning Harlem” is a documentary film about the recently-approved rezoning of 125th Street. Directed by students in Hunter College’s graduate planning program, it follows the opposition to the City’s plan through their struggle to advocate for affordable housing, and against the displacement of viable local businesses and the loss of a one of the world’s most famed African-American neighborhoods.

It will screen twice this weekend at the Maysles Cinema, 343 Malcom X Boulevard, this Friday and Saturday, November 7 and 8, at 7:30pm. Directors will attend both screenings. The screenings are open to the public at the suggested, not required, donation of $7.

Photo of the Coalition to Save Harlem via the directors.

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

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