Next Steps After City’s Outrageous Decision On Trump Condo-Hotel
City Says ‘Yes’ to Trump Condo-Hotel: Before Thanksgiving GVSHP received confirmation from the Department of Buildings and local elected officials that the City had decided to approve a 45-story condo-hotel at a site at 246 Spring Street at Varick Street being developed by Donald Trump and partners. While the permits have not yet been issued, the City has made clear that they believe Trump is right and literally thousands of New Yorkers and scores of business, community, and planning groups from across the City are wrong, and they will allow this and other condo-hotels to be built, for the first-time ever, in manufacturing zones across New York City (CLICK HERE for map). This decision will not only allow this mega-development to be built in violation of zoning restrictions, but will allow other similar developments to be built in areas where such developments have never gone before. The only thing the City appears to be waiting on is Trump signing a voluntary “restrictive declaration” for the site (see below).
The response from the public to news of this decision by the City has been overwhelming, and as outraged as ours. Many have asked “what can we do?” Although the City has indicated that they are 100% committed to this decision, you can let them know just how wrong, harmful, and outrageous you think it is.
GVSHP will be conferring with neighbors of the planned Trump development, and local and citywide community and business groups elected officials who have joined us in opposing this decision about next steps; all options are being reviewed, including legal ones.
Restrictive Declaration Proposed: The City is currently seeking to get Trump and partners to enter a voluntary “restrictive declaration” to supposedly limit how the condo-hotel could operate and “ensure” that it follows zoning restrictions for a transient hotel (transient hotels are allowed by the zoning at this location, while residences and residential hotels are not; we contend that condo-hotels are not transient hotels, but are residential hotels or residences). GVSHP is very concerned that such an agreement will be difficult to enforce and compliance will be difficult to monitor; that it will be used by the City to try to shield their decision from legal challenge; that it will not apply to any of the future condo-hotel developments which this decision will also allow; and that it cannot substitute for appropriate enforcement of the zoning code, as this agreement would allow clear violations of the zoning. For example, the restrictive declaration currently being contemplated will allow condo owners to occupy their units for 100-150 days per year; that is a second home, not a transient hotel. We are concerned that the restrictive declaration is being used by the City as a fig leaf to try cover up this terrible decision, without providing the real protections the zoning is supposed to.
If the City cannot be convinced or compelled to enforce the current zoning code to prevent these kinds of developments in neighborhoods where they are supposed to be prohibited, GVSHP is urging that the zoning be changed right away to clearly and explicitly do so. GVSHP has asked for both explicit prohibitions against this type of development in manufacturing zones where they are supposed to be prohibited, and for zoning changes to reduce the size and height of any kind of development (whether or not it is a condo-hotel) in the zoning districts around the planned Trump development.
See the letter to Council Speaker Christine Quinn outlining our concerns about the restrictive declaration and urging that these zoning changes be made if the City follows through on its pledge to support Trump’s plan (CLICK HERE for letter).