Council bill takes aim at shade cast by tall buildings

By Joe Anuta

Levine proposes task force to limit development near green spaces.

An Upper Manhattan lawmaker who wants to regulate development near parks introduced a bill Wednesday to create an interagency task force to study the effect of shade on the city's green spaces.

The issue has become controversial—especially regarding the spate of towers topping 1,000 feet along West 57th Street that cast long shadows on Central Park—and it has become the raison d'être for the Municipal Art Society and other groups.

"Other cities—including Boston, Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco—have already enacted zoning ordinances that afford a measure of protection for green space," Councilman Mark Levine said. "One common measure is to apply a 'shadow budget' to development around parks, to shape development in ways that minimize shadow impact."

It's unclear whether the de Blasio administration would support the idea.

The City Council typically focuses its efforts on trimming the scope of development, but the administration has been trying to expand the supply of apartments by financing new affordable housing projects, supporting dense developments near transit hubs and rezoning neighborhoods to entice the private sector to build both market-rate and regulated units.

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