Committee approves controversial 400-space parking garage

Opponents raise congestion, asthma levels, and City policy as reasons to reduce parking garage. Despite calls by Hell’s Kitchen residents and Community Board 4 to reduce the requested parking spaces, the Land Use Committee sent the 400-space public parking garage plan of developer Glenwood Management Corp. to the full Council for a vote.

Glenwood applied for a special permit for the garage as part of its construction plan for a mixed-use building with 569 residential units and 10,600 sq.ft. of retail space at 310-328 West 38th Street, a site that currently contains a two-story parking garage and a parking lot with a total of 590 spaces. Of the 400 spaces proposed, the project permitted 232 accessory spaces as-of-right. The project will take advantage of the Hudson Yards Inclusionary Housing bonus, increasing its floor area with an agreement to make 140 units affordable. Glenwood also sought a related text amendment to allow the design to include recessed entries along West 37th and West 38th Streets.

When it approved the special permit in early June, the City Planning Commission required Glenwood to restrict use of the 232 accessory spaces to monthly users. The full City Council then voted to take review of the permit since its review was not automatic under ULURP.

At the June 17th hearing before the Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning & Franchises, opponents requested that the Council limit the number of spaces to the 232 accessory spaces. Community Board 4’s representative explained that it could not support any project that encouraged non-residents to come to the site by car. A resident called it “irrational” to approve parking in an area with one of the highest rates of asthma in the city.

In response, Council Member Helen Sears told opponents that Glenwood’s reduction from the current 590 spaces to the 400 proposed was “quite a compromise.” She added that every neighborhood has people with asthma and that City Planning had done everything it needed to do in relation to the permit approval.

Council Member Eric Gioia asked for a more detailed explanation from the Planning Commission on its rational for approval. Subcommittee Chair Tony Avella laid over the vote to June 25th to allow the Department of City Planning to respond.

On June 25th when the matter returned to the subcommittee, it approved without modification, sending the matter to the Land Use Committee, which also approved.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: MN 4,No, 35-1-0
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-0
Land Use Comm.: App’d

Hearing: 310-328 West 38th Street (June 25, 2008) (Gary R. Tarnoff, Kramer Levin, for Glenwood).


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