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NYC pols push state to fix decades-old law blamed for preventing much-needed housing as highlighted by Post probe

Top Manhattan pols are urging Albany to finally yank a decades-old state law that’s been blamed for exacerbating the Big Apple’s housing shortage — ripping it as “a relic of another era,” The Post has learned.

The push set to be unveiled Wednesday — and backed by Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and most of the island’s City Council delegation — requests that Gov. Kathy Hochul and state legislative leaders include repealing the 1961 law as they finalize this year’s must-pass budget.

“This law is a relic of another era, it was created in the 1960s when the city was worried — believe it or not — about too much housing being developed and not enough office,” Levine told The Post. “We have the opposite situation today.”

Manhattan politicians are pushing Albany lawmakers to repeal a law that requires buildings to be no more than 12 times the size of their lots. J. Messerschmidt for NY Post
Manhattan politicians are pushing Albany lawmakers to repeal a law that requires buildings to be no more than 12 times the size of their lots. J. Messerschmidt for NY Post
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine called the 1961 law a “relic of another era.” Robert Miller
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine called the 1961 law a “relic of another era.” Robert Miller

The controversial measure requires that buildings be no more than 12 times the size of their lots — banning the construction of the beloved block-sized buildings along Central Park West and Fifth Avenue because they are 20 to 30 stories tall, as a Post investigation recently highlighted.

Backers of the statute, known as the 12 FAR cap, argue it shields the Big Apple — Manhattan, in particular — from overdevelopment and protects the character of historic neighborhoods that they say would otherwise be filled with glass towers.

But The Post’s review showed that the law has done the opposite: Allowing the construction of glass “pencil towers” filled with just a handful of apartments, while blocking apartment buildings such as the elegant famed structures that line Central Park.

The law prevents buildings like the Eldorado by Central Park from being built today. J. Messerschmidt for NY Post
The law prevents buildings like the Eldorado by Central Park from being built today. J. Messerschmidt for NY Post
The law has led to the construction of “pencil” towers in Manhattan. AFP via Getty Images
The law has led to the construction of “pencil” towers in Manhattan. AFP via Getty Images

The list of banned structures include the famed Eldorado at 300 Central Park West, which contains 208 apartments in its self-described “candle-like” 29-story towers.

A study by Columbia University found that the law may have cost Gotham potentially 200,000 apartments over the decades — enough to fill roughly half of the city’s deficit of 342,000 housing units.

“You look along Central Park West, you see glorious building after glorious building that you couldn’t build today because they have too many apartments, which is ridiculous,” said Levine.

The push is backed by seven of Manhattan’s 10 representatives on the City Council — Democrats Carlina Rivera, Erik Bottcher, Keith Powers, Julie Menin, Shaun Abreu, Diana Ayala and Yusef Salaam — as well as one of the city’s biggest municipal labor union, District Council 37, Levine’s office said.