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January 3rd, 2011

Rachaele Raynoff (City Planning) -- (212) 720-3471

Proposal Would Provide Opportunities for New Residential Development in West Clinton While Permitting Businesses to Grow

January 3, 2011 – City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden officially launched the public review process for a rezoning of an 18-block area in the West Clinton neighborhood of Manhattan that was proposed jointly by the Department of City Planning (DCP) and Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB 4). The rezoning would encourage new residential development, including affordable housing, on the east side of Eleventh Avenue, and from the west side of Eleventh Avenue to Twelfth Avenue, it would encourage the growth of industrial and commercial businesses – such as office, utility, auto-related, and vehicle-based distribution – many of which support the midtown central business district. It would also reinforce the distinctive built character of West Clinton by establishing height limits and continuous street wall requirements throughout the rezoning area to preserve both its medium density residential areas and higher density loft corridors.

Commissioner Burden said, “The proposed rezoning of West Clinton is the result of a close and unique collaboration with Community Board 4 and local officials. It not only responds to priorities expressed by the local community, but also fosters Mayor Bloomberg’s sustainable planning goals by promoting the preservation of neighborhood character while also providing opportunities for modest growth and affordable housing along wide corridors.”

The rezoning area is generally bounded by West 55th Street to the north, West 43rd Street to the south, a variable line between Tenth and Eleventh avenues to the east, and Twelfth Avenue to the west. West Clinton is a neighborhood with a wide range of uses from residential to auto repair and from horse stables to offices. The area is developed with a mix of building types including large loft buildings along Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues, single-story auto dealerships and auto repair shops, full-block vehicle-based distribution and utility facilities, and a small number of walk-up tenement-style buildings. New residential development is prohibited in areas that are now zoned M1-5, M2-3 and M3-2, and there are no height limits or street wall requirements for new buildings or enlargements, which could result in out-of-character construction.

To address the need for new and appropriately scaled residential development opportunities as well as the need for additional space for businesses to flourish in West Clinton, the proposed package of zoning changes would:

  • Extend the residential zoning districts westward to the east side of Eleventh Avenue.

  • Increase the density permitted on certain blocks zoned for industrial and manufacturing district-compatible uses from 2.0 FAR to 5.0 FAR, from the west side of Eleventh Avenue to Twelfth Avenue.

  • Establish height limits and street wall requirements throughout the rezoning area to ensure that new development would be in context with the surrounding built environment.

  • Encourage affordable housing through the Inclusionary Housing Program. The Inclusionary Housing Program provides zoning incentives to create or preserve affordable housing in exchange for additional residential floor area, and enables property owners to take advantage of financial incentives provided by the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. 

Residential Areas
Acknowledging the growing residential presence in West Clinton, and the varied heights on different sections of the neighborhood, the proposal calls for:

  • An R8A district along the east side of Eleventh Avenue from West 45th to West 52nd Street (with the exception of the frontage between West 46th and 47th Streets). This district has a C2-5 Commercial Overlay to foster ground floor commercial use, a base residential Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 5.4 and an Inclusionary Housing Bonus to a maximum FAR of 7.2 with the provision of affordable housing. It allows a maximum building height of 120 feet, or approximately 12 stories.

  • Extension of the Special West Clinton District paired with R8 zoning along mid-block areas between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues from West 45th Street to West 52nd Street. This allows a maximum residential FAR of 4.2, and the maximum building height is 66 feet, or approximately six to seven stories, with street wall requirements throughout.

  • An R9 district with new Special District height restrictions on most of the block east of Eleventh Avenue between West 43rd and West 44th streets to transition down from the higher density Hudson Yards neighborhood to the south. This would allow residential development at a 6.0 FAR base and an Inclusionary Housing Bonus from 6.0 FAR to 8.0 FAR with the provision of affordable housing. Ground floor retail would be accommodated with a C2-5 commercial overlay on the Eleventh Avenue frontage. Overall building height would be capped at 145 feet, or approximately 14 stories on wide streets, and 135 feet, or approximately 13 stories on narrow streets.

Manufacturing Areas
An M2-4 district that would support business growth from West 43rd Street north to West 55th Street between the west side of Eleventh Avenue and Twelfth Avenue would increase the density permitted on certain blocks from 2.0 FAR to 5.0 FAR. Together with the new Special Clinton District subarea height limits, new development could rise to a maximum of 135 feet, consistent with the existing loft buildings in the area.

Public Review
The community board now has 60 days to review the proposal, after which it will go to the Borough President, the City Planning Commission and the City Council as part of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). For specifics of the zoning proposal or more details on the ULURP time line, please visit the DCP website.

Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) promotes strategic growth, transit-oriented development, and sustainable communities in the City, in part by initiating comprehensive, consensus-based planning and zoning changes for individual neighborhoods and business districts, as well as establishing policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide. It supports the City Planning Commission and each year reviews more than 500 land use applications for actions such as zoning changes and disposition of City property. The Department assists both government agencies and the public by providing policy analysis and technical assistance relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, waterfront and public space.

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