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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Application by 150 Charles Street Holdings, LLC, application requesting to amend Z.R. §15-41 (N 070394 ZRY), residential conversion in C6-1G, C6-2G, C6-2M, C6-4M, M1-5M and M1-6M Districts

WHEREAS, The proposed amendment would add new zoning text to Section 15-41, Enlargements of Converted Buildings, that would allow, by authorization, for a waiver of the open space requirements contained in Section 15-12 for the portion of the building being converted to residential use, and would allow the maximum floor area ratio to be achieved on the subject site irrespective of the site meeting its required height factor or open space requirements; and

WHEREAS, Under the current zoning, the portions of a building undergoing residential conversion and the potential enlargement of that building are each required to provide a certain amount of on-site open space; and

WHEREAS, The open space equivalent for the part of the building being converted can be placed on the roof, but the open space equivalent for the enlargement cannot be located on the roof due to the open space ratio provisions of height factor zoning; and

WHEREAS, The text amendment would facilitate the progress of the applicant’s project, namely, the enlargement and residential conversion of an existing commercial building located on the midblock between W. 10th and Charles Streets and West and Washington Streets, in Community Board Two in Manhattan; and

WHEREAS, The type of enlargement the amendment would allow reflects a change in thinking in urban design away from height factor buildings, which promote development of tall buildings surrounded by open space, allowing for more flexibility in conversion projects.  Specifically, meeting the open space ratio requirements of the current zoning entails tearing down an existing structure and building a new one from scratch, while the proposed text amendment would allow existing buildings to be preserved and used as a base for enlargements; and

WHEREAS, The amendment sought is not a mechanism to allow building projects to add more bulk, but to arrange the allowed bulk differently; and

WHEREAS, The proposed amendment would not diminish the amount of open space available to the general public since the open space created by current zoning regulations is only required to be available to residents; and

WHEREAS, The proposed amendment currently only applies to the project in Community Board Two, the Department of City Planning considers the issue to be a general issue of preservation and therefore requested that the proposed changes be incorporated into the Zoning Resolution; and

WHEREAS, The waiver created would not be as of right and would require an applicant to meet the stipulated findings before the City Planning Commission; and

WHEREAS, This application was approved by the five other community boards to which it was presented; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the requested zoning text amendment to waive, with authorization, existing height factor or open space requirements for buildings being converted to residential use.

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