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March 17, 2014

Rachaele Raynoff / Michael Shilstone (City Planning): (212) 720-3471

Statement By City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod
On The City Planning Commission Vote for the
606 West 57th Street, Manhattan Application

March 17, 2014 - Special CPC Meeting -

"Today we are voting on an application for a significant mixed-use development on Manhattan’s west side. Our approval of this project will facilitate roughly 950,000 square feet of residential space or an estimated 1189 units of housing. 20% of the floor area, or approximately 237 units, will  be permanently affordable to low-income New Yorkers when this project is built.  This is another step towards accomplishing the stated goal of the Mayor, who has committed to providing 200,000 affordable new and preserved apartments over the next ten years. 

In tandem with this considerable amount of new housing, this project will also include approximately 42,000 square feet of commercial or community facility space This new development would integrate this site into the evolving residential, institutional and commercial neighborhood surrounding it.

I wish to note that I have reviewed the record of the public review for this application, and was present for our previous review session. This rezoning, if enacted, substantially increases the value of this development site, and as I have said before, we also want to ensure that the public can share in the increased value through the provision of affordable housing.   I note that the applicant had proposed a text amendment that potentially would have reduced its requirement for affordable housing, by excluding up to 4 FAR of commercial or community facility floor area from the calculation for affordable housing. Although the applicant has indicated it is not likely to include such a significant amount of community facility or commercial space in this project, as I said at the time we approved the Domino project, the inclusion of commercial and/or community facility space in mixed use projects should not be a means of decreasing the affordable housing requirement. For this reason, we have removed this provision.

I also want to note that just two weeks ago, after both the hearing and the record was closed, the applicant filed a text amendment requesting that a  special permit be required for a hotel use in this proposed rezoned area. Since that proposed amendment was filed after our public hearing and after the record was closed, there has been no opportunity for the public to be heard on that issue. Therefore, we were not able to consider this amendment and so have not included it in the final proposal.  However, I note that the issue can be addressed at the City Council, where the public would have an opportunity to be heard.

I vote YES."

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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