Why Zoning?

Did you know that neither Paris nor London have “zoning”. As I was told by a government official in Paris, a property owner can do whatever they would like to do with the property. A building could be a school, a hotel, an apartment house or offices. The mix works very well in bringing vibrancy to neighborhoods. I do not know the details, but I do know that Paris is a magnificent city that allows the market dictate what is best for its real estate. Existing building can not be destroyed and much is “land marked”. I am not sure how new construction is handeled.

In London also, I was told by an economist I met at a seminar in NYC, that “zoning” does not exist. He told me that most of the major European cities were the same and they were confused as to the American idea of zoning.

Zoning, has we have it today, seems antithetical to the interests of the inhabitants and the municipalities. In NYC, for example, zoning laws go back over 50 years. As if someone 50 years ago knew what was best very every neighborhood then, and 50 years into the future! Preposterous! Why not allow the market to dictate what is done with an existing property? All the fallow commercial buildings in lower midtown that cry out for residential conversions - many can not be done - illegal activity!

The incredibly offensive height of Trump’s residential tower on First Ave. near the U.N. was all done “legally”. If we did not have zoning, but some “norm” of height for new construction per the size of the land, etc. with community review - that eyesore would never have been constructed. With our existing laws, we allow the absurd and prohibit the natural.

Donald S. Weiss
555 W. 151 St. #26
NYC, NY 10031
Tel - 212 - 283-1278
Fax - 212 - 283-6522
E Mail - DWeiss5348@aol.com

Other Web Sites:

CRHNYC.com - Committee For Rational Housing Laws & Economic Development in NYC & NY State (When can we, as New Yorkers, discuss the significant aspect of the Rent Stabilization Law - it ostensibly prevents change and has “cemented” in NY Cities population base at it’s historically lowest economic level! Rent Stabilization ostensibly prevents change and Has “cemented” in NYC’s population base at its lowest socio-economic level historically. The life time rights to rent apartments that the poor people have that replaced the middle class when they fled NYC has taken off the housing market about one half of NYC’s rental housing stock. This massive change in supply has created higher rents for the middle class and narrowed their choices of where thy feel comfortable living.

CleanupNYCgarbage.com - Clean Up New York City Garbage  - New Yorkers have grown accustomed to the garbage. It is true, in midtown areas where there are active BIDs, the garbage is contained quite nicely. However, even in these neighborhoods, the problem exists that there is a constant abundance of large black garbage bags that line the sidewalk once, twice or three times a week waiting for pickup at some point in the future.

CFANA.com - Committee For a New America (Would it be moral to allow our American cities to become middle class again and, if so, what do we do with the poor? We have come to accept that, in America, we house and care for the poor in our great cities. My suggestion for change can be found on this site and a new one going up soon - CommunityLivingCenters.com.

SugarHillAC.com - Sugar Hill Art Center - History and photos of the Art Center I opened in October, 2001
(great timing!) in Harlem.

NoMorePennies.com - No More Pennies! Why do we need them? Why not get a final number, then round up or down to the nearest nickel? Get rid of them now.

CellPhonesandDataBases.com - Cell Phones and Databases - We are dysfunctional in America. In most other countries, including China, cell phones operate by satellite dishes - reception is excellent. In America, we use towers - reception is terrible! And calling information - T Mobil, Verizon, etc., etc. They all have their own data bases and do not share information. Clever! There should be a way to coordinate data bases so one can get a telephone number from whatever phone one is calling from even though the number listed might have been registered with another phone company.

BetterStreetSigns.com - Better Street Signs - How do we get around in our cars in America? Not too easily! New navigation systems might help those who can afford them, but shouldn’t we, as bearers of our own fate, help ourselves in giving ourselves good signs. It seems an impossible task. How about a toll free national number that would allow any motorist to call in an improper or missing sign with the location and the error. This information could be passed to a local authority that could confirm the suggestions and change it if needed.

DowntownLAgentrification.com - Downtown LA Gentrification - Downtown LA is the same as many American cities in many ways - it has seen its better day. The poor are the primary shoppers and occupy many of the once glorious hotels. Their presence on the streets is abundant. In many way, however, downtown LA is different from many other American cities. Most of the beautiful buildings are still intact. When they were built they were used by the “gentry” for shopping and offices. Upscale stores were common. Today the shopping still exists, but it is stores selling cheap merchandise to a primarily poor client. The buildings are used mostly for manufacturing.