Information about Silver Towers superblock zoning
We wanted to share with you some information we have recently received regarding NYU and the possibility of development on the Silver Towers and Washington Square Village superblocks.
NYU has been proposing to add a significant amount of new development to the superblocks as part of its “NYU 2031” plan. GVSHP (and many others) have said that much of this proposed development would be completely inappropriate, and in violation of zoning restrictions. We have been asking NYU for months for clarification of their understanding of what the zoning for these sites would allow (see here). We have also worked very hard to secure landmark designation of much of the Silver Towers superblock in November, which will prevent any as-of-right development on the landmarked areas, and would require an additional layer of public review and approval if NYU were to seek to build there.
Earlier this month, NYU FINALLY gave their first written response to questions about their understanding of restrictions on development on the superblocks, which we have posted here so you can review it (NYU apparently shared this information with the Community Board almost two weeks ago, but did not share this information publicly, or with us, until yesterday).
In summary, the document says the following:
None of NYU’s proposed developments are allowable under current zoning restrictions
While the urban renewal provisions expired in 1994, deed restrictions on the property require that NYU abide by the urban renewal provisions regardless (see here); none of NYU’s proposed developments for the superblocks are allowed under the deed restrictions
NYU cannot build on the landmarked area of Silver Towers without the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which would require public hearings and a public vote of the Commission
To change the current zoning or deed restrictions for the site, NYU must go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and get approvals from the City Council and the City Planning Commission; public hearings would have to be held; and the Community Board and Borough President would get to vote on the changes (though their approval is not required)
Please note that:
GVSHP will continue to push for further information regarding NYU’s plans and restrictions which would affect them, as well as to advocate against inappropriate development on the superblocks and elsewhere in our neighborhood, and for NYU to seek locations OUTSIDE of our neighborhood for their growth, as promised in the “Planning Principles” to which they agreed at the beginning of this year.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact us via e-mail or at (212) 475-9585.