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Projects & Proposals > Staten Island > Special St. George District Printer Friendly Version
Special St. George District Rezoning - Approved!
Proposed Actions
Overview | Existing Context | Proposed Actions | Public Review
 
Proposed Actions
   
  Creation of the Special St. George District
St. George Boundary Map
St. George BoundaryMap
PDF Document View a larger image.
A zoning text amendment is proposed to create the Special St. George District (SSGD). The Special St. George district addresses the specific and unique challenges of the neighborhood with additional rules and protections that cannot be addressed by a zoning change, including:
  • New rules that bolster and support today’s pedestrian-friendly shopping streets by encouraging continuous retail frontage on these streets, are requiring wider sidewalks and more windows to make shopping streets more attractive.
  • The re-use of existing vacant office buildings by allowing them to easily convert to residential uses.

  • Allowing taller, slender buildings that maintain waterfront vistas from the harbor and from the upland community are more appropriate for this unique hillside, waterfront community.

  • Appropriate off-street parking requirements.

  PDF Document View the complete proposed zoning text amendment.
PDF Document View the text amendment adopted on October 23, 2008.
   
  Retail/Streetscape Rules
  Retail/Streetscape
The Special St. George District will bolster and support pedestrian-friendly shopping streets by encouraging retail streets to grow throughout St George. These regulations include mandating wider sidewalks for new development, requiring ground-floor retail where appropriate.
 
  • Retail/Commercial Streets

    St. George Boundary Map
    Commercial Streets
    PDF Document View a larger image.


    Certain streets within the Special St. George District would be designated as “Commercial Streets”. Ground floor retail or commercial uses would be required on these streets to promote retail continuity on these important corridors. Throughout the rest of the district retail/commercial uses would be optional.

  • Glazing/Transparency Requirements
    Building facades without windows create a sterile, uninviting environment. The Special St. George District would require ground floor commercial or community uses, anywhere in the district, to have 50% of their facades to be transparent, measured to a height of 10 feet.

  • Wider Sidewalks
    In order to provide ample room for pedestrians, shoppers and future sidewalk amenities as outdoor cafes and street trees, new construction must provide at least 12 feet between the buildings and curb for sidewalk use. Approximately 75% of the study area already has sidewalks of at least 12 feet. This will require in some cases that new buildings will be set back from the mapped street line. New development will also be required to provide street trees. will be set back from the mapped street line. New development will also be required to provide street trees.
  • Street Wall Location
    Buildings that are setback from the street with parking lots in front do not create a pleasing pedestrian retail experience and would be inappropriate for St. George. The proposal would require on Commercial Streets that 70% of a building’s façade be located within 8 feet of the sidewalk to promote a more pedestrian-friendly retail environment. In the rest of the special district, 50% of a building’s facade must be located within 8 feet of the sidewalk. The proposal would also prohibit open parking lots between the sidewalk and the front of a building.
  Office Conversion Rules
The Special St. George District will encourage the re-use of existing vacant office buildings by allowing them to easily convert to residential uses
 
    Older office buildings in St. George cannot convert to residential use if they do not comply with residential FAR and yard requirements. In parts of lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City proposed conversions are allowed to waive certain zoning regulations that make it easier to convert buildings to residential. The St. George Special District would allow office buildings built in 1971 or earlier to use these same Loft Conversion rules.
    However, unlike other areas in the city, conversions to residential in St. George would be required to meet residential parking requirements. In order to accommodate the required parking for these existing buildings, off-site parking will be allowed anywhere within the special district.
  Building Form
Another goal of The Special St. George District is to ensure that as St George grows, that new buildings are appropriate to this unique hillside, waterfront community.
 
  • Floor Area Ratio (FAR)
    The proposed Special St. George District would equalize and limit the maximum FAR to 3.4 for all uses. The district would retain a 2.2 FAR for zoning lots under 10,000 sq, ft. on non-commercial streets to encourage better site planning on small sites. The FAR of the R3-2/C1-2 portion of the Special District would remain the same.
  • Base Heights
    Base heights refer to that portion of a building that is located along the sidewalk. Buildings with base heights that are too low or too high create unwelcoming pedestrian environments at street level. The proposal will require on most streets, including Victory Blvd, a 30 - 60 ft high street wall base. On Stuyvesant Place, which is a very narrow street, a lower base height of 30 – 40 ft will allow sufficient light and air to reach the street. Bay Street is already populated with taller buildings along the sidewalk, and future buildings should be in context with them, thus a higher base height of 60 – 85 ft will be required. The building envelopes of the R3-2/C1-2 portion of the SSGD would not be affected by the proposed base height requirements. See Map Base Heights.

  Base Height
 
  • Towers

    Tower Exclusion Zone in Red
    Tower Exclusion Zone in Red

    Towers can only be accommodated on large sites with enough floor area to meet requirements for base and a tower. On large sites with more available floor area, after meeting the base height requirements noted above, any remaining FAR could be used for a slender tower. All towers would be required to be set back between 10’ and 15’ from the base depending upon the width of the street.

    In order to provide a transition area between the Special District and adjacent lower density residential buildings, a Tower Exclusion Area will be designated along portions of St. Marks Place and Montgomery Place, which would limit buildings in those areas to 70 feet.


    Two types of slender towers would be permitted, Point and Broad, each with additional rules for their building forms, as noted below. All towers must have their narrow portion facing the water and have a width of no more than 80’ in order to protect views from the harbor and the upland areas of St. George. To encourage a building design that reflects the existing hillside topography the tops of buildings would be required to provide articulation.

  Point Towers
  • Maximum FAR - 3.4
  • Maximum Floor Plate - 6,800 sq ft
  • Maximum Width facing water – 80ft
  • Maximum Overall Depth - 85 ft
  • Control to articulate building top: The lot coverage of the top 3 floors will be required to have a minimum coverage of 50% of the floors below, but cannot exceed 80% of the floor below.

 
Point Towers have a maximum floor plate of 6,800 sq. ft.
Point Towers have a maximum floor plate of 6,800 sq. ft.

Point Tower with three top floor setbacks
Point Tower with three top floor setbacks
The maximum width facing the water is 80’ in order to preserve views
The maximum width facing the water is 80’ in order to preserve views
  Broad Towers
  • Maximum FAR 3.4
  • Maximum Floor Plate - 8,800 sq ft
  • Maximum Width facing Water – 80 ft
  • Maximum Overall Depth -135 ft
  • Controls to articulate building top: Three setbacks facing the water will be required above a height of 100 feet. The top story must be located on the uphill side, so that the building terraces face down towards the water.
 
Broad towers have a maximum floor plate of 8,800 sq. ft.
Broad towers have a maximum floor plate of 8,800 sq. ft.


Broad Tower with three setbacks facing the water
Broad Tower with three setbacks facing the water


The maximum width facing the water is 80’ to preserve views
The maximum width facing the water is 80’ to preserve views
   
PARKING REGULATIONS
The Special St. George District includes parking regulations to assure adequate and visually pleasing off-street parking and encourage new retail development. These regulations include:
 
    • Not considering parking in structures as floor area if it is not visible from the street

    • At least 40% of parking garage rooftops must be landscaped.

    • All parking lots for new Commercial and Community Facility uses are now subject to the design regulations made part of the Zoning Resolution in November 2007. The Special District would make these rules applicable to residential parking lots.

    • On the designated Commercial Streets, open parking lots would be prohibited in order to encourage continuous ground-floor retail/commercial opportunities.

    • On non-commercial streets, open parking lots would not be permitted in front of buildings – only to the side or rear of the building. To encourage new retail development, the special district would reduce the commercial parking requirement to one parking space for every 400 sq. ft. of commercial use. Parking will not be necessary for stores under 10,000 sq. ft.

    • Current parking requirements for residential uses are too low. The proposed Special District would increase the residential requirement to one space per dwelling unit. Additionally, the proposal would prohibit the subdivision of zoning lots to waive residential parking requirements.

    • To prevent new curb cuts from conflicting with pedestrian-friendly retail streets, new driveways would only be allowed on the mapped Commercial streets by certification by (either the Chair or the Commission) that all other alternatives have been explored.


 
Parking garages would not be visible from street except for entrances and exits.
Parking garages would not be visible from street except for entrances and exits.

Open parking lots would be to the side or rear of a building on non-commercial streets.
Open parking lots would be to the side or rear of a building on non-commercial streets.
   

Zoning Map Amendment
In addition to mapping the Special St. George District, the proposed zoning map amendment will also change the zoning of a portion of block 498 roughly bounded by Victory Boulevard, Van Duzer Street and Hannah Street from R3-2/C1-2 to C4-2 and include it as part of the SSGD district This would encourage new construction that would provide a continuous retail/commercial presence along the sidewalk in context with the exiting retail presence fronting Tompkinsville Park and the goals of the zoning proposal.




Overview | Existing Context | Proposed Actions | Public Review




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