Hudson Yards text modified

Air rights text and new setback rule slightly changed to respond to Council’s concerns. The City Council approved 12 significant text amendments to the Hudson Yards zoning text after the Department of City Planning made two small modifications. Overall, the final text encompasses the transfer of development rights from the MTA’s eastern rail yards, the use of the Hudson Yards District Improvement Bonus, and the relocation of subway entrances for the No. 7 line. The final text also encompasses several design issues such as street wall setbacks, sidewalk widening rules, and window glazing requirements. 5 CityLand 104 (Aug. 15, 2008).

Right before the City Council’s Land Use Committee voted on the text, City Planning staff presented two small changes. The original text allowed developers to obtain a building permit for a project without precluding the possibility of later increasing the proposed building’s size through an air rights transfer from the MTA’s rail yards or through the use of the Hudson Yard District Improvement Bonus. Council Member Melinda Katz criticized this text at the Council’s July hearing. The final text requires developers, prior to receipt of a building permit, to send a letter to Planning outlining whether the project includes the transfer of air rights from the rail yards or uses either the inclusionary housing or the district improvement bonuses.

A second modification addressed concerns about the proposed setback rules along West 34th Street and Tenth Avenue. Under the final text, recesses to the street wall can begin at a height of 50 feet along Tenth Avenue and 60 feet along West 34th Street, up from the 30-foot height originally proposed.

With the two modifications, the Land Use Committee approved the proposal unanimously. Following the vote, Katz explained that she had brought up her concerns with Planning more than a month before the vote, adding that it should not have been as difficult as it was to make modifications.

Council: Special Hudson Yards, Clinton & Midtown Text Amendments (August 14, 2008).

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