The proposed height provision had, as approved by the Planning Commission, been applicable citywide. On February 28, 2007, the City Council approved the four linked applications for the mixed-use development of West 60th Street Associates, LLC with significant modifications to the developer’s proposed citywide zoning change on bulk.
West 60th originally proposed a zoning text amendment that would allow developers of general, large-scale developments located in certain commercial districts to modify the height factor calculation, a bulk measurement, if it resulted in better site plans and open space. As approved by the Planning Commission, the new bulk waiver special permit would apply to ten community districts in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 4 CityLand 4 (Feb. 15, 2007).
West 60th argued that the waiver would result in improved designs and discourage buildings from being set back from the street. West 60th applied to use the bulk waiver on its proposed development along West 60th and West 61st Streets. Its final design called for three buildings to be located along the street line with one interior courtyard open space and a second large open space along West 61st Street, containing a tennis court.
When the proposal made it to Council, the Land Use Committee voted to limit the new bulk waiver to Manhattan’s Community Board 7. In addition, it eliminated language that described the resulting open space as “serving the needs of the residents.” This change envisioned public use of the final open space. The developer also agreed to allow nearby schools to use the tennis court.
Council’s final vote also approved West 60th’s proposed three buildings and the open space design.
Council: West 60th Street (Feb. 28, 2007); CPC: West 60th Street (N 060103 ZRY – text amendment); (C 060104 ZMM – map amendment); (C 060105 ZSM – special permit, bulk); (C 060106 ZSM – special permit, garage) (Jan. 10, 2007) (Kramer Levin, for West 60th Street Associates, LLC). CITYADMIN
CITYLAND Comment: When the Planning Commission met on February 26, 2007 to review the Council’s modifications, Commissioner Angela Battaglia, who voted for the original text amendment, said the changes embraced what several Planning commissioners originally wanted in the text, but had let go without change. City Planning staff member Larry Parnes explained that City Planning opposed limiting the bulk waiver solely to properties within Community Board 7 because it effectively limited the waiver to the West 60th Street development only. “We will never get an application under this section again,” Parnes added. Several commissioners commented that the section might be used as a guide to future development. The Commission ultimately approved the modifications.