Proposed Meatpacking District/West Chelsea Rezoning
A long-awaited proposal to rezone part of a block of the Meatpacking District/West Chelsea, between 14th and 15th Streets, 9th and 10th Avenues, is finally moving ahead. GVSHP and allied community groups have long called for a rezoning of this block, much of which lacks landmark protections, where the current zoning allows out-of-scale, high-rise development. We have called for a contextual rezoning, to impose height limits where none currently exist to ensure that any new development matches the scale and character of the area. Such a rezoning is especially important given the State's passage in 2013 of legislation allowing the transfer of air rights from Hudson River Park inland to increase the size of allowable development. That legislation would have allowed air rights to be used on this block, but a contextual rezoning would make that much more difficult.
An earlier proposal for a rezoning of this block would have put in place some new height limits but also upzoned the sites, increasing by 50% the allowable size of new development. GVSHP and our allies objected strenuously to this, and that aspect of the proposal was dropped. The rezoning proposal now moving ahead leaves the allowable bulk (i.e. square footage) of new development as is, but imposes contextual height limits where none currently exist, limiting the possibility of high-rise development and the accumulation of air rights on individual sites -- read the full proposal here.
Unfortunately, the rezoning proposal was delayed by the City for more than a year, and several developments on that block are in the process of moving ahead. Once work on a new development begins, it is "grandfathered" and can be completed under the zoning which was in effect when it began, rather than new zoning. That is why we are calling for the rezoning to move ahead as quickly as possible.
The sites to be rezoned lie within the Gansevoort Market Historic District which GVSHP was able to get on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2007, and within our originally proposed landmark district, though most of the sites were taken out of the district when the City designated it in 2003.
The proposal will be heard tonight publicly for the first time in the Community Board #4 Chelsea Land Use Committee meeting, which begins at 6:30 pm in the Community Room at 353 West 30th Street (8th/9th Avenues). This is the first of many public hearings and discussions which will take place around the proposal. If you are interested in finding out more or would like to support the proposal, attend tonight's meeting.