Zoning change to allow wind turbines and heliostats

Computerized heliostats will redirect sunlight from top of new green highrise down to Teardrop Park South. The City Council approved a text amendment that allows for a new class of permitted rooftop obstructions on residential buildings in the Special Battery Park City District in Manhattan: wind turbines and heliostats, which are mirrors that redirect sunlight to spaces cast in shadow.

The Battery Park City Authority has invested $355,000 to install three heliostats, eight feet in diameter, on the roof of the Verdesian, a new 24- story green residential highrise currently under construction at 211 North End Avenue. The heliostats will help minimize the shadow impact on the adjacent, soon-to-be-opened Teardrop Park South, which sits in the shadow of three skyscrapers, including the Verdesian. The computerized heliostats will track the movement of the sun, capture the light and redirect it down to the park, creating circles of light that can be aimed at different spots as needed.

On August 15, 2005, the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises approved and referred the application to the full Land Use Committee, which approved on August 16, 2005. The full Council approved at the August 17, 2005 stated meeting.

Approval Process: The Battery Park City Authority, as lead agency, issued a negative declaration on January 11, 2005.Manhattan’s Community Board 1 recommended approval of the text amendment by a vote of 33 to 1 on May 17, 2005. Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields did not comment on the application.

At the June 22, 2005 hearing before the Planning Commission, there were no speakers in opposition. In support of the application, the attorney representing the Authority explained that the amendment would enable the Authority to incorporate environmentally responsive technologies within Battery Park City and would maximize the potential of Teardrop Park South.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the amendment on July 27, 2005, finding that the proposed heliostats would advance the environmental objectives of Battery Park City, blend in with other permitted rooftop obstructions, and promote environmentally responsive development in Battery Park City.

Council: Battery Park City Authority (August 17, 2005); CPC: Battery Park City Authority (N 050417 ZRM – text amendment) (July 27, 2005). CITYADMIN

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