Hearing held on limited Sullivan Street rezoning


One-story building at 73 -75 Sullivan Street in Manhattan. Photo: CityLand.

Opponents of mid-block rezoning expressed concerns about potential out-of-character commercial use. On January 6, 2010, the City Planning Commission heard testimony on DJL Family Limited Partnership’s proposal to extend a C1-5 commercial overlay within an R7-2 district on Sullivan Street between Spring and Broome Streets in Manhattan. The C1-5 overlay currently runs along Spring Street, and DJL requested extending the overlay approximately 175 feet south along the eastern side of Sullivan Street to include a 50-foot-wide, one-story building at 73-75 Sullivan Street.

The building is owned by DJL and occupied by a heating and cooling contractor and a bakery. Commercial uses are not permitted within the underlying R7-2 district, and the two businesses are grandfathered as prior legal nonconforming uses. DJL proposed the rezoning because it intends to demolish the building in order to develop a fivestory residential building with ground floor commercial space. DJL would not be permitted to re-establish commercial ground floor use without the extension.

Manhattan Community Board 2 submitted a letter to the Commission citing its concern that DJL’s ground floor space would permit a commercial use too large for the primarily residential block. The board rejected the proposal, pointing out that DJL refused its request to restrict eating and drinking establishments from the proposed space.

At the Commission’s hearing, Anthony Borelli, Land Use Director for the Manhattan Borough President’s office, testified that Borough President Scott M. Stringer was concerned about setting a precedent for other blocks, noting that mapping a commercial overlay into a residential mid-block would be atypical for the area. Borelli said the ground floor of DJL’s building would be twice the size of other grandfathered storefronts on Sullivan Street, and he expressed concern that it would permit more intensive commercial uses and undermine the block’s residential character. Borelli said Stringer recommended disapproving the rezoning unless DJL agreed to divide the ground floor space into two smaller spaces and restricted the ground floor use to non-eating and drinking establishments.

Speaking on behalf of DJL, John Zaccaro Jr. described the proposed building’s design, noting the ground floor facade would be broken up into two frontages of 22 feet. Zaccaro explained that DJL did not agree to the community board’s request to restrict eating and drinking establishments because the board did not guarantee that it would recommend approving the proposal if DJL acquiesced to the demand. Zaccaro said that DJL “has no intent” to put in a nightclub or a loud business in the ground floor and that it was committed to the building’s proposed design.

The Commission must vote on the proposal by February 26, 2010.

CPC: Hearing on Sullivan Street Rezoning (C 100026 ZMM – rezoning) (Jan. 6, 2010).

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