Resolution on the Scoping Document for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Hines/MoMA Project at 53 West 53rd Street.
WHEREAS, The applicant, W2005/Hines West Fifty-Third Realty, LLC, is seeking multiple actions in connection with a mixed use development at 53 West 53rd Street; and
WHEREAS, The applicant is proposing a 1,250 foot tall mixed use building of 786,562 square feet which is proposed to be used as follows:
- Museum of Modern Art usage of 68,087 square feet
- Hotel usage of 100,000-200,000 square feet
- Residential usage of 518,465-618,465 square feet; and
WHEREAS, The applicant has received approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to seek the transfer of development rights pursuant to:
- Zoning Resolution Sections 74-79 and 81-212 to allow transfer of development rights from the University Club;
- Zoning Resolution Sections 74-711 and 81-277 to allow transfer of development rights from St. Thomas Church; and
WHEREAS, With the approval to seek these transfers by the Landmarks Preservation Commission the project will now enter the ULURP phase; and
WHEREAS, The development has been found to have an impact on the surrounding environment thereby triggering the need for an Environment Impact Statement; and
WHEREAS, An Environmental Impact Statement addresses the following tasks where appropriate:
- Project Description
- Land Use, Zoning and Public Policy
- Socioeconomic Conditions
- Community Facilities and Services
- Open Space
- Historic Resources
- Urban Design/Visual Resources
- Neighborhood Character
- Hazardous Materials
- Solid Waste and Sanitation
- Traffic and Parking
- Transit and Pedestrians
- Air Quality
- Construction Impacts
- Public Health
- Unavoidable Adverse Impacts; and
WHEREAS, The Department of City Planning will be holding a public scoping meeting on November 18, 2008 where the public can provide comments on items that they would like to see included in the Environment Impact Statement; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Community Board 5 recommends that the Environmental Impact Statement take the broadest examination of these items possible and recommends that the document examine the following:
- The impact of this development on an area of one mile radius rather than the required one quarter mile radius and for the purpose of traffic analysis from the East River to the Hudson River. Given the size and scope of this project, a quarter mile radius is too small an area.
- The effect of this development coupled with all the other developments in the immediate area on Community Facilities and Services. Many developments are smaller than the required triggers in the Environmental Impact Statement for Community Facilities but their cumulative impact is rarely examined. Community Board 5 would urge that the following cumulative items be examined in the Environment Impact Statement
- The educational needs of the area, especially considering the new residential development that has occurred throughout Midtown. The building of one or more new schools should be required if it is found to be necessary in the Environmental Impact Statement. Community Board 5 has neither an elementary nor a middle school within its borders.
- The library needs of the area, especially considering that the Donnell Library has been temporarily closed and is being torn down to develop a new hotel leaving only a much smaller branch at this location.
- Public safety needs including ensuring there is adequate fire and police service for a 1,250 foot building.
- The impact of a 1,250 foot building on open space. The Mayor's PlaNYC 2030 recommends 1.5 acres of open space for every 1,000 residents. Community Board 5 has substantially less open space than this standard especially in the midtown area.
- The consequence of this building on noise in the area. The 53rd Street side of this development will face mainly office buildings but the 54th Street side of the project faces almost exclusively residential buildings. There are already severe noise problems due to the loading docks for the Museum of Modern Art and the addition of a 1,250 foot building with additional loading docks is going to exacerbate these issues.
- The effect of this building on the character of the neighborhood. A building of this size will undoubtedly change the character and makeup of the surrounding blocks.
- The impact of the shadow that the building will cast. There is a great deal of concern that this building will cast a long shadow including one that could reach Central Park which is only five blocks north of this building. A complete and thorough shadow study needs to be completed.
- The effect of the building on the safety of the neighborhood. Concerns have been raised by the residents that a building destined to be one of the tallest in the city could become a high risk target.
The above resolution passed by a vote of 31 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstaining.
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