City Approves NYU Variance for 726-730 Broadway, Dismantling NoHo/SoHo Firewall Against NYU Expansion
Yesterday the Board of Standards and Appeals approved a zoning variance for NYU at 726-730 Broadway (Waverly Place), over the objections of GVSHP Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Community Board #2, various NoHo and SoHo groups, and several NYU faculty. The zoning variance allows NYU to locate in this building labs, classrooms, and other facilities which the zoning prohibits within the NoHo Historic District, and will result in an ungainly, 4-story addition to the building.
More disturbingly, the decision dismantles the zoning firewall which has protected NoHo and SoHo from NYU's voracious appetite for expansion, because their unique zoning prohibited most university-related uses. Given these neighborhood's proximity to what the NYU administration calls its "core," this is a disturbing development with potentially far-reaching consequences (read more HERE).
Equally disturbingly, this development and variance violated pledges NYU made during the public approval process for its massive "2031" Village expansion plan. NYU claimed they were disclosing all planned developments, yet made no mention of building atop this structure or seeking a precedent-setting variance for uses prohibited by the zoning for NoHo and SoHo. Disappointingly, in spite of this clear misrepresentation by the University, none of the elected officials who approved the plan opposed the variance, in spite of several requests that they do so, including City Council Speaker Quinn and City Councilmember Chin, who brokered the approval of the plan in the City Council, and Borough President Scott Stringer, who also approved the plan.
The legal challenge by GVSHP, NYU faculty, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and several other groups and individuals against the City Council and the City's approval of the NYU expansion plan continues to make its way through the courts.
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