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Projects & Proposals > Manhattan > East Midtown Printer Friendly Version
East Midtown Rezoning
Public Review

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City Planning Commission Approval with Modifications

On September 30, 2013, the City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the applications for the East Midtown Rezoning Plan with modifications to the (A) application for the text amendment (N 130247(A) ZRM). The original application (N 130247 ZRM) was withdrawn.

The approved Zoning Text amendment was modified by the CPC in response to concerns raised during the public review process. The modifications include the following:

Use Modification
Under the (A) application, sites that utilized the District Improvement Bonus (DIB) could develop a maximum of 20 percent of the new building as a mix of hotels and residential uses as-of right. In addition, sites with existing hotels would be permitted to maintain their total floor area in a new building as-of-right if the amount exceeded the 20 percent cap. The rest of the new building would be required to be developed as a mix of office and retail uses. Higher percentages of residential and hotel use, as well as all other permitted underlying uses, would be available only by use of the Use Modification special permit. The Use Modification special permit would restrict the amount of residential use which could be developed pursuant to the special permit to a maximum of 40 percent of the building.

The Commission modifications permit up to 20 percent of a new building to be developed as use group 6E non-commercial clubs as-of-right. In addition, the modifications restrict the maximum amount of residential use that could be developed through the Use Modification special permit to 25 percent, rather than 40 percent.

‘Sunrise’ Provision
The (A) application restricted the granting of foundation and building permits for Qualifying Site development until July 1, 2017.

The Commission modifications permit Qualifying Site developments on sites of less than 30,000sf in area to obtain foundation and building permits upon enactment of the Subdistrict.
In addition, the Commission modifications permit sites that utilize the Superior Development special permit, and propose substantial below-grade improvements, to modify the sunrise provision so as to obtain foundation and building permits up to one year earlier (July 1, 2016), on condition that no certificates of occupancy would be granted until 2020.

In-Kind Provision
The (A) application permitted new developments to undertake construction of projects on the District Improvement Fund (DIF) Committee’s Priority Improvement List in lieu of a monetary contribution into the DIF. This was permitted for all bonus floor area and was allowed as-of-right.

The Commission modifications only allow use of the in-kind provision for the floor area above a required DIB contribution of 3.0 Floor Area Ratio (FAR). In addition, use of the In-Kind provision would require discretionary approval of the CPC through an authorization. 

DIB Pricing and Adjustment
The (A) application included an initial DIB rate of $250 per square foot, which would be updated annually based on an included index. Adjustments could not fall below the initial $250 rate. In addition, it permitted residential use (as described above in the Use Modification section), and anticipated a separate rate for the residential uses.

The Commission modifications include a rate of $360 per square foot for residential use and a separate annual adjustment index for this residential rate. In addition, the modifications require reappraisals of the DIB rates every three to five years to ensure the rate continues to track conditions in East Midtown.

District Improvement Fund and Committee
The Commission modifications add the Chair of the MTA as a non-voting member of the DIF Committee and also modify the requirements for administration and use of the DIF to help ensure it will be an effective mechanism to develop improvement projects in the area over time.

In addition, the Commission modifications include an option that, if chosen to facilitate early development of area improvements, would permit assignment of DIF revenues to a special financing entity to support the financing.

Building Performance Requirement
The (A) application required new buildings that used the DIB to meet a higher energy efficiency standard—set at a minimum of 15% over the 2011 NYC energy code. The provision permitted the CPC to modify the provision by rule to keep the standard up to date.

The Commission modifications require DCP to report to the CPC within 90 days of an update to the energy code and recommend modifications to keep the standard up to date. Following receipt of the report, the Commission would adopt a rule to modify the standard, as necessary. These modifications also permit use of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Building Performance Rating method to meet the requirement. 

Superior Development Special Permit
The (A) application permitted higher FARs than under the as-of-right framework through a new special permit for Superior Development. 

The Commission modifications clarify the requirements for an application, the process for obtaining MTA agreements and other approvals, and the timing necessary for required improvements to be completed. The modifications also permit in-kind improvements to be approved under the special permit process, in the event that the DIF Priority Improvement List has not yet been established as of the time of special permit review.

In addition, as described in the ‘Sunrise’ section above, the Commission modifications permit modification of that provision through use of the Superior Development Special Permit.

Mass Transit Easement Requirement
The (A) application included requirements for sites in the Grand Central Subarea to provide easement volumes, if required by the MTA, to allow access between the street and the area’s below-grade network. The provision also permitted the development to improve the easement volume and count it toward the required Pedestrian Circulation Space requirements necessary for a new development.

The Commission modifications clarify that easements could be utilized for access to all types of mass-transit facilities. In addition, the modifications clarify the process for working with the MTA to identify the necessary on-site easement.

Environmental Requirements
The Commission modifications require sites that use the DIB to comply with a series of measures to partially or fully mitigate the effects of new development as identified in the FEIS, or to avoid the potential for impacts.

Other Modifications
The Commission modifications clarify the (A) application’s intent and make a series of minor corrections. These include:

  • Renumbering and reordering the provisions for ease of use;
  • Clarifying requirements and timing of various provisions of the Qualifying Site framework; and
  • Clarifying the requirements and applicability of transfers from landmarks.
  • Clarify the provisions describing how required streetwalls are to be treated for compliance with height and setback controls in both the Grand Central Subarea and along Park Avenue.

View the complete PDF Document proposed zoning text amendment as modified by the CPC.

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