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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Application by 515 Seventh Avenue Realty LP and SP Plus requesting a ten-year extension and modification of a variance granting the right to operate a commercial parking garage at 515 7th Avenue in an M1-6 district

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, October 10, 2019, the following resolution passed with a vote of 33 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, 515 Seventh Avenue Realty LP and SP Plus (Applicant) is currently operating a commercial parking garage with 360 publicly available parking spaces pursuant to a BSA approved use variance to operate said garage within an M1-6 district also overlapping with the Special Garment District and

WHEREAS, The controlling use variance was first granted in 1949 and has been extended for seventy-years since and most recently in 2009 at which time the BSA also granted Applicant’s proposal to add 71 rooftop parking stackers, which increased the number of parking spaces to 360 from 253 (the “Rooftop Stackers”), and

WHEREAS, The variance was granted pursuant to the 1916 Zoning Resolution and is therefore governed by that act’s Sections 11-41 and 11-411; and

WHEREAS, Section 11-411 reads: “Where no limitation as to duration of the use was imposed at the time of authorization, such use may be continued. Where such use was authorized subject to a term of years, such use may be continued until the expiration of the term, and thereafter, the agency which originally authorized such use may, in appropriate cases, extend the period of continuance for one or more terms of not more than 10 years each. The agency may prescribe appropriate conditions and safeguards to minimize adverse effects of such use on the character of the neighborhood [emphasis added];” and

WHEREAS, Although the Board generally discourages modifying the scope of a variance once it has been granted, in this application the Applicant seeks a modification to the 2009 variance renewal to remove the Rooftop Stackers, reducing the number of commercially operated parking spaces to 280 from 360 and thereby reducing the scope of the non-conforming use of operating a commercial garage in M1-6 zoning area; and

WHEREAS, The Board finds that the Site’s surrounding area in midtown Manhattan, including the Special Garment District, has changed significantly since 2009 (and 1949 when the use variance was first granted) warranting scrutiny of both the extension and modification of any use variance application; and

WHEREAS, The Board is satisfied that because the removal of the Rooftop Stackers reduces the scope of the Site’s non-conforming use, no other modifications are sought, and there is still demand for commercial parking at the Site despite significant changes to the surrounding area, there will be no adverse effects to the surrounding neighborhood of either removing the Rooftop Stackers or extending the use variance for ten more years above any such impacts already existing; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application by 515 Seventh Avenue Realty LP and SP Plus to extend the variance for a period of 10 years with the modification to remove the Rooftop Stackers.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter.

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