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June 2, 2016

IN THIS ISSUE

Revised Gansevoort Plan Tries to Skirt Landmarks Limit

Intro. 775, City Council’s Anti-Landmarks Bill, Revised & Returned

Critical Hearing on Hudson River Park Air Rights on June 6

 
Revised Gansevoort Plan Tries to Skirt Landmarks Limit

Original proposal (l) and new proposal (r); better, but still too big


In February, the Landmarks Preservation Commission told the developers of a proposed multi-building complex to scale back their proposal, providing specific direction about models to look towards for the height of any new construction. While we were disappointed that the Commission did not require preservation of all of the existing buildings and allowed a larger scale of new construction than we thought appropriate, we were gratified that the Commission called for scaling back the proposal considerably.

Apparently the developer did not hear it that way.

While in their
revised application the developers did make significant improvements to their plans for 50 Gansevoort Street, at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street the developers have proposed new construction still well in excess of the models the LPC directed them to consider. At 60-68, the LPC told the developer that the additions to the existing building should go no higher than the 5-story building which was once found on this site. Research by GVSHP and Save Gansevoort indicated that this building was likely between 50 and 55 feet tall. Yet the developer is proposing additions that would bring the new building to 62 feet in height. And at 70-74 Gansevoort Street, the LPC told the developer that a new building should be no taller than other “loft style” buildings in the Gansevoort Market Historic District.  Research by GVSHP and Save Gansevoort showed that such buildings ranged in height between 39 and 74 feet tall, with an average of 56.5 feet. Yet the developer, looking instead to much larger “warehouse” buildings as their model, has proposed a building which is still 83 feet to its cornice and 97 feet to the top of its mechanicals.

GVSHP has written to the LPC stating how outrageous and unacceptable we find the revisions. The new proposal is scheduled to be heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday, June 7th, though the public is not allowed to speak.

HOW TO HELP:

Intro. 775, City Council’s Anti-Landmarks Bill, Revised & Returned
 
Last year GVSHP helped lead the charge against the City Council’s anti-landmarking, pro-demolition Intro. 775, the “Do-or-Die Deadline” bill. We generated thousands of letters to the City Council and turned out hundreds of people to oppose the measure, which would have deemed proposed landmarks and historic districts automatically ineligible for landmark status if the LPC failed to act within a proscribed timeline (one which a large portion of current designated landmarks and historic districts, including the Greenwich Village Historic District, had failed to meet). The bill also prohibited reconsideration of those potential landmarks or historic districts for five years. As a result of fierce opposition, several Councilmembers withdrew their support for the bill, and the bill’s authors, Councilmembers Dave Greenfield and Peter Koo, promised to amend the bill.

They have finally released the revised bill, and it is now speeding towards a final vote. And while some of the worst aspects of the bill have been removed, some still remain. The five year prohibition on reconsideration has been removed from the bill, but that it still imposes deadlines of one year for considering individual landmarks and two years for historic districts. If the LPC fails to act within that timeframe – because more time is needed, because a well-connected developer or institution has managed to delay the process, or because the proposal is complicated or controversial, and requires more study – the site is automatically not landmarked, after which time a developer can simply get demolition permits which would make landmarking impossible.

If enacted as is, this bill, though less onerous than in its original form, would still have a profoundly negative impact upon preservation in our city.

HOW TO HELP:

  • Send a letter to the City Councilmember urging them to OPPOSE the revised Intro. 775 >>

  • Join us at the City Council Land Use Committee vote scheduled for Tuesday, June 7 starting at 9:30pm at City Hall, City Council Committee Room (though no public testimony will be allowed, we will have signs to let City Councilmembers know we oppose the bill)

  • Join us for a press conference before the final City Council vote on Thursday, June 9th at 1pm on the Steps of City Hall opposing this anti-preservation, pro-demolition bill

Critical Hearing on Hudson River Park Air Rights on June 6

In 2013 the State Legislature allowed up to 1.5 million sq ft of air rights from the Hudson River Park to be moved one block inland, vastly increasing development potential on our waterfront blocks.

With all the out-of-scale developments being proposed in the West Village right now, did you know that it could actually get worse? In 2013 the New York State Legislature changed the law to allow “air rights” from the Hudson River Park to be transferred one block inland, increasing the allowable size of development up and down our waterfront and anywhere between 59th and Chambers Streets. This set off a ticking time-bomb in our neighborhood whereby as much as a million and a half sq ft or more of “air rights” could be moved in, vastly increasing overdevelopment possibilities.

But we CAN stop it. The City is proposing to sell about 200,000 sq ft of the park’s approximately 1.5 million sq ft of air rights from Pier 40 to the St. John’s Terminal site across West Street, to fund $100 million in repairs for that Pier and its playfields.  We can and must demand that there be NO FURTHER AIR RIGHTS TRANSFERS FROM THE HUDSON RIVER PARK IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. If we can do that, we can protect our neighborhood from countless more potential massive developments and numerous future battles.

HOW TO HELP:

  • Come to the Community Board #2 public hearing on Hudson River Park air rights transfers next Monday, June 6 at 6:30 pm at the Fire Museum, 278 Spring Street (Varick/Hudson Streets), 3rd floor.  Sign up to speak.  Tell the Community Board they must demand NO FUTURE AIR RIGHTS TRANSFERS FROM HUDSON RIVER PARK.


 

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