South Village faces new dangers
The calendaring of the first phase of GVSHP’s proposed South Village Historic District in late June was a cause for celebration, and put in place some preliminary protections for those areas of the South Village it covered.
However, in recent days, new dangers for the South Village have emerged. A developer has filed plans to construct a 7-story building at 309 Sixth Avenue (Carmine/West 4th Streets) in the calendared section of the Greenwich Village Historic District, seeking to get permits before landmark designation takes place. Because the area has been calendared (i.e. is being formally considered for landmark designation by the city), the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) can prevent permits from being issued for up to 40 days, during which time the LPC can designate the area (thus requiring any applications go through a full public hearing and review process, with full landmark protections) or convince the applicant to hold or change the application. Anticipating just such a possibility, this spring GVSHP wrote to LPC Chair Tierney urging the LPC be sure that it is prepared to designate the district within 40 days of calendaring if such a circumstance arose.
GVSHP is now urging the LPC to do exactly that — to designate the district within the allotted 40 days or otherwise ensure that permits for the new construction at 309 Sixth Avenue are not issued prior to designation, so they get a full public review. Special thanks to Assemblymember Deborah Glick for joining GVSHP in making a similar request.
A further danger to the South Village is illustrated by 178 Bleecker Street, one of a row of 1861 houses in the not-yet calendared section of the South Village which the owner has just demolished. GVSHP had called the danger to this building to the attention of the LPC many months ago, but unfortunately the LPC refused to act to save it. While the building is now gone, GVSHP is still working hard to prevent the developer from receiving requested permits to build an 8-story, 75 ft. tall replacement. GVSHP reached out to the Department of Buildings early in the year to argue that a provision of the zoning law does not allow a building of more than 60 ft. at this site — the approximate height of the now-demolished building on the site and its neighbors in the row.
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