Open space at issue in rezoning near Lincoln Center

Proposal includes controversial new bulk waiver that will impact ten community districts. West 60th Street Associates, LLC applied to rezone 14 lots in Manhattan’s Lincoln Square neighborhood from manufacturing to commercial zoning. On 11 lots, West 60th would develop a mixed residential and commercial project with 301 rental units, 41 condos, 10,000 sq.ft. of retail and 200 parking spaces. Along with a special permit for on-site parking, West 60th proposed a text amendment that would allow a new bulk waiver by special permit.

As proposed, the text change would allow developers of general large scale developments located within certain commercial districts, to vary the required height factor calculation, a bulk measurement that takes into account open space, height regulations and set backs to establish the final building shape. The height factor often leads to buildings set back from the street, surrounded by open space. West 60th argued that a permitted variation would result in improved open spaces and site plans. The text amendment would impact lots in ten community districts in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

West 60th’s specific development would consist of three distinct buildings connected on the ground floor. A 27-story tower would front West 61st Street and contain 209 rental units and 4,047 sq.ft. of community facility space. A 14-story building with 92 units and 2,207 sq.ft. of retail would front West 60th Street and, west of it, a nine-story building would stand with 41 condo units and 7,717 sq.ft. of retail. Open space would be provided in an L-shaped, 7,664-square-foot interior courtyard that would abut all three buildings. A second open space would be located east of the 27- story tower and would be visible from the West 61st Street sidewalk. It would include 15,422 sq.ft. of landscaped open area including a tennis court.

Reacting to opposition by both Borough President Scott Stringer and Manhattan Community Board 7, West 60th’s attorney presented a compromise at the Planning Commission’s public hearing. The developer suggested that the text change be altered to restrict the reduction in open space to no less than 50 percent of that required in the code.

On January 10, 2007, the Commission approved all of the applications with the modification to the bulk waiver suggested by the developers. Only Commissioner Angela R. Cavaluzzi opposed.

In voting to approve, the Commission noted that the proposed building was superior to an as-of-right development, which would produce a single 37-story tower that would cast shadows on neighboring buildings. The rezoning matched the existing context of the neighborhood and the parking garage would not unduly inhibit traffic and pedestrian flow.

The City Council’s Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee scheduled a hearing for January 30, 2006, but postponed it at the request of Council Member Gale Brewer, the district’s representative.

ULURP Process:
Lead Agency: CPC, FEIS
Map Amendment
Comm.Bd.: MN 7, App’d, 40-0-1
Boro. Pres.: App’d
Council: pending

Text Amend/Bulk Permit
Comm.Bd.: MN 7,Den’d
Boro. Pres.:Den’d
Council: pending

Garage Permit
Comm.Bd.: MN 7,Den’d, 35-4-0
Boro. Pres.:Den’d
Council: pending

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

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