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Projects & Proposals > Manhattan > Far West Village Printer Friendly Version
Far West Village Zoning Proposal - Approved!

Overview
West Street by Charles Street
West Street by Charles Street

The Department of City Planning is proposing a zoning map amendment for a 14-block area of the far western part of the West Village (‘the Far West Village’). The rezoning area is generally bounded by Horatio Street to the north, Washington Street to the east, Morton Street to the south, and West Street to the west. The rezoning would allow for the continued development of residential buildings and neighborhood-oriented retail, at densities and heights consistent with the existing scale of the neighborhood.

The rezoning is proceeding in tandem with a proposal from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to extend the Greenwich Village Historic District along the east side of Washington Street, create a new historic district centered around Weehawken Street, and designate individual landmarks throughout the rezoning area. The unique partnership of the Department of City Planning and the Landmarks Preservation Commission fulfills the mayor’s commitment made at last year’s town hall meeting at PS 41. The proposal is also consistent with the mayor’s promise to protect the character of the city’s lower and medium density residential neighborhoods to offer the variety of housing choices that is critical to the city’s future.

Neighborhood Character and Existing Zoning
The Far West Village was traditionally a manufacturing area that for many years was connected to the working waterfront along the Hudson River. The remaining loft buildings and smaller-scale hotels are remnants of the area’s industrial and maritime history. In the last thirty years, the area’s character has become predominantly residential, with a diverse mixture of residential buildings that include converted loft buildings, 19th century row houses, the 42 six-story buildings in the West Village Houses complex, and more recent, taller residential buildings. Distinct clusters of lower-scale buildings are located along Christopher and Weehawken streets, and Charles Lane, while medium-scale, street wall buildings are located along West and Washington streets to the north of Bethune Street, and taller residential buildings are located along West Street between Charles and West 11th Street. The land use is primarily residential, with 78 percent of the lots developed with residential use, and 13 percent with commercial uses.

The area is primarily zoned C6-2 and C1-7, medium-density commercial districts which also allow residential use at 6.02 floor area ratio (FAR), community facility uses at 6.5 FAR, and commercial uses at 6.0 (C6-2) and 2.0 (C1-7) FAR. Other portions of the rezoning area are currently zoned M1-5 and C8-4, light manufacturing and heavy commercial use districts where residential use is not allowed. A two-block area at the northwestern edge of the rezoning area is zoned C6-2A, pursuant to a zoning map amendment approved in 1984. In addition, the Westbeth artists’ housing development, located on the block bounded by West, Bank, Washington and Bethune streets, is zoned C6-3 which allows a commercial FAR of 6.0, a residential FAR of 7.52 and a community facility FAR of 10. Most of the rezoning area is to the west of the Greenwich Village Historic District, which was designated in 1969. Only the two-and-a-half blocks that are currently zoned C8-4 and located along the east side of Washington Street are within the Historic District.   PDF Document View Map of Existing Zoning.

In recent years, buildings have been built to heights that are taller than many of the existing buildings in the Far West Village. Both the C6-2 and C1-7 districts allow for the construction of tall, slender buildings surrounded by open space, and neither requires a street wall or limits building heights. While allowing taller buildings in limited areas of the Far West Village is consistent with the diverse scale of buildings found in those areas, the flexibility allowed by the existing zoning districts could over time result in substantial change in the neighborhood’s character. In addition, the broad range of commercial uses allowed in the C6 districts is inconsistent with the predominantly residential nature of the neighborhood.

In response to requests by community groups, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Department of City Planning has developed this zoning proposal for contextual districts to ensure that new development is consistent with the predominant built form and land uses in the Far West Village.


Zoning Proposal
The proposal would change much of the area’s zoning to contextual zoning districts (C1-7A, C1-6A, C4-4A, C6-2A). The contextual districts require use of the Quality Housing program, which mandates street walls and height limits. These controls would help ensure that new development relates to the existing scale and character of the Far West Village. In addition, rezoning much of the area to C1 districts would limit the commercial uses to more neighborhood-oriented retail establishments, rather than the broader range of commercial uses allowed under the existing C6 districts. View Map of Proposed Zoning.

  Existing C6-2 &
C1-7
Existing M1-5 & C8-4 Proposed C1-7A Proposed C6-2A Proposed C1-6A Proposed C4-4A Proposed R6A/C1-5
Residential FAR 6.02 N/A 6.02 6.02 4.0 4.0 3.0
Commercial FAR 6.0 * 5.0 2.0 6.0 2.0 4.0 2.0
Community Facility FAR 6.5 N/A 6.5 6.5 4.0 4.0 3.0
Max Height N/A N/A 120 ft 120 ft 80 ft 80 ft 70 ft
Min to Max Base Height N/A N/A 60 to 85 ft 60 to 85 ft 40 to 65 ft 40 to 65 ft 40 to 60 ft

* C1-7 permits 2.0 FAR of commercial use

C1-7A
A C1-7A district is proposed for the northern portion of the neighborhood, along West Street between Bethune and midpoint between Jane and Horatio streets, along the west side of Washington Street between Bethune and Jane streets, and along the south side of West 12th Street. The C1-7A district, which permits an FAR of 6.02 of residential uses, 2.0 of commercial use, and 6.5 of community facility use, would replace the existing C6-2 district and an M1-5 district.

The C1-7A district mandates a streetwall between 60 and 85 feet, and has a height limit of 120 feet. The proposed district would allow for development that is consistent with the bulky, high streetwall buildings found in the northern portion of the Far West Village.


C1-6A
A C1-6A district is proposed generally along the midblocks between the north sides of Bethune and West 12th streets, along the west side of Washington Street between Charles and Bank streets, and portions of or all of the blocks along West Street between Morton and Charles streets. The C1-6A district would replace C1-7 and C6-2 districts.

The C1-6A district is also a contextual district and permits an FAR of 4.0 for residential use, 2.0 for commercial use, and 4.0 for community facility use. The C1-6A district requires a streetwall between 40 and 65 feet, has and a height limit of 80 feet. The proposed district would allow for development that is consistent with the lower-scale row houses, apartment buildings and converted loft buildings found within these areas.


C4-4A
The east side of Washington Street between W 12th and Horatio streets is proposed to be zoned C4-4A, a contextual district which permits an FAR of 4.0 for residential, commercial and community facilities uses. The C4-4A district would replace the C8-4 district.

The C4-4A district requires a street wall between 40 and 65 feet, and has a height limit of 80 feet. The bulk regulations would ensure that development is consistent with the predominant built form, and the range of commercial uses allowed in the C4 district would allow the existing commercial uses, including catering establishments and photography studios, to remain and expand.


R6A (C1-5 overlay)
An R6A district, which permits a residential FAR of 3.0, is proposed along Charles Lane, replacing the C6-2 and C1-7 districts. The R6A district is a contextual district that would require a street wall between 40 and 60 feet, and has a height limit of 70 feet. The bulk regulations would ensure that new development reflects the unique, low-scaled character of Charles Lane. The proposed C1-5 overlay has a maximum commercial FAR of 2.0 and permits only local retail commercial uses.


C6-2A
C6-2A is proposed for the northeast corner of West Street and West 12th Street, as an extension of the existing zoning of on this block. The corner is occupied by the Hotel Riverview, a NYC landmark. The C6-2A district, which permits an FAR of 6.02 for residential use, 6.0 for commercial use, and 6.5 for community facility use, would replace an M1-5 district. C6-2A is a contextual district that requires a street wall between 60 and 85 feet, and has a height limit of 120 feet.


Public Review
The application for the proposed zoning map amendment was certified on July 11, 2005. Both Community Board 2 and the Manhattan Borough President subsequently approved the application, with conditions. The City Planning Commission held its public hearing on the application on September 14, 2005, and the application was unanimously approved by the Commission on September 26, 2005. (PDF Document Read the CPC report). The City Council approved the application on October 11, 2005 and the zoning changes are now in effect. PDF Document View the adopted zoning map.

For more information about this proposal please contact the Department of City Planning Manhattan Office at 212 720-3480.



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Brief explanations of terms in green italics can be viewed by clicking on the term. Words and phrases followed by an asterisk (*) are defined terms in the Zoning Resolution, primarily in Section 12-10. Consult the Zoning Resolution for the official and legally binding definitions of these words and phrases.

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