The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

14 February 2014


MePa Tower Zoning Variance Blocked

Unanimous Support for South Village Preservation Rezoning Plan

Latest Landmarks Applications Available

Meatpacking District Tower Zoning Variance Blocked

We are thrilled to report that a zoning variance for a 34% increase in the size of a planned tower at 40-56 10th Avenue (13th Street) in the Meatpacking District which GVSHP fought has been defeated. In the face of strong opposition, the applicant, believing they would ultimately lose their case, withdrew their application at this Tuesday’s Board of Standards and Appeals hearing.  

The developer had claimed that under the existing generous zoning, developing the site -- adjacent to the High Line and the Hudson River Park -- would be a “hardship,” and therefore they should be granted permission to build a 199 ft. tall tower, 1/3 larger than the zoning allows. GVSHP and many others strongly disputed this claim, and urged the Board of Standards and Appeals to reject the variance. This was a rare win against a zoning variance application at the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals, and one we felt particularly strongly about, given that other recent variances and land use decisions by the City were destroying the previously open views from the High Line in the Meatpacking District.

Thank you to everyone who wrote, e-mailed, or attended a public hearing regarding this proposal -- your support and participation did make a difference!

Find out more about preservation of the Meatpacking District here.

GVSHP’s South Village Rezoning Proposal Garners Unanimous Support

At Wednesday night’s Community Board #2 Land Use Committee Public hearing, GVSHP presented to a standing room-only crowd its proposal to rezone the R7-2 zoning district in the South Village. GVSHP made the argument that the South Village’s outdated R7-2 zone, enacted in 1961, encourages out-of-scale and out-of-character development, especially dormitories and other university facilities. GVSHP highlighted recent inappropriate, scale-shattering high-rise developments by NYU and private developers, as well as showing what could be built under the existing zoning on various sites in the neighborhood -- towers of up to 250 or 300 feet in height!

GVSHP proposes a "contextual" rezoning which would put height limits in place where none currently exist, and eliminate the nearly 90% bulk bonus developers currently receive for including a “community facility,” such as a dorm or other university facility, in their developments. Though GVSHP has succeeded in getting much of the South Village landmarked, much still is not, and even for landmarked areas, having appropriate zoning provides a further guarantee against inappropriate development.  

View our PowerPoint presentation here, a summary of our proposal here, and images from the meeting here.

When the Committee chair asked the public for their feedback on the proposal through a show of hands, the packed room was all “ayes,” without a single attendee expressing opposition to the proposal. We’re especially thankful to community groups such as the Bleecker Area Merchants and Residents Association, the Charlton and VanDam Street Block Associations, South Village Neighbors, and the Committee to Preserve Our Neighborhood, who were on hand to express support.  

The Community Board’s Land Use Committee then voted unanimously to support GVSHP’s rezoning proposal moving ahead, urging elected officials and the Department of City Planning to get behind the plan. Their resolution will go to the full Community Board next Tuesday, where we hope it will receive similar strong support. From there, we hope that local elected officials will support the proposal and join GVSHP in petitioning the Department of City Planning to take it up and move it through the public review and approval process.


Latest Landmark Applications Available

GVSHP provides an ongoing record of all applications for changes to landmarked properties in our neighborhoods (Greenwich Village, NoHo, Gansevoort Market, the South Village, and the East Village) that require a public hearing before they can be approved. These proposals range from minor alterations to large additions, demolition, and new construction on landmarked sites.
Find out about the application, when the Community Board and NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission public hearings will take place, and how you can weigh in before decisions are made. You can also sign up for alerts to be notified of changes in the status of the application.    
The new applications below are scheduled to be heard in the near future at the Community Board, the LPC, or both. Click on each for more information.

16 West 12th Street
CB2 hearing: 02/24/2014
LPC hearing: 03/04/2014

197 Bleecker Street
CB2 hearing: 02/24/2014
LPC hearing: 03/04/2014


To sign up for notifications of new landmarks applications, please click HERE.
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