October 21, 1974
Calendar #1 CP-22758
Amendments of the
Zoning Resolution pursuant to Section 200 of the New York City Charter relating
to various Sections concerning the establishment of a Special Clinton
Clinton District, which would replace the Special Clinton Interim Preservation
District, is the result of a combined effort with the community for a plan to
preserve the residential core of the Clinton community - a stable, low-rise, low
and moderate income neighborhood and to meet other special planning goals for
the neighborhood. Also included in this proposal are text changes in the Special
Theatre District which expand the choice of bonusable amenities for developers
along the easterly frontage of 8th Avenue so as to permit such development to
help achieve the objectives of the Special Clinton District.
On August 28, 1974
(Cal. #2) the Commission scheduled a PUBLIC HEARING on the proposed amendments.
The public hearing was held on September 23, 1974 (Cal. #29) and continued to
October 16, 1974 (Cal. #28).
in favor of the amendments including the Councilman for the Clinton area, an
Assemblyman for the Clinton area, a Councilman-at-Large for the Borough of
Manhattan, the executive vice-president of the New York City Convention and
Exhibition Center Corporation, the planning consultant for the Clinton study, a
representative of the Citizen's Housing and Planning Council, representatives of
the Clinton Steering Committee, the Clinton Neighborhood Board as well as
several residents of the Clinton community.
Those in favor of
the Special District expressed the opinion that this was an equitable mechanism
for guiding development in the Clinton area which would help maintain the
character of Clinton as a viable and stable residential neighborhood. Some
residents of the Perimeter Area expressed concern that upzoning in the Western
Perimeter Area would exert strong pressure for redevelopment of that
The speakers in
opposition included representatives of the Citizens Committee for Equal Justice
in Clinton, representatives of parking lot owners in the Clinton area and
several property owners in the area. Those in opposition expressed concern that
the Special District regulations could thwart development in some portions of
The President of
the City Council appeared and expressed concern about the problems of waterfront
related jobs and industry.
Consolidated Edison were concerned about the effect of the Special District on
their property within the District area. The hearing was closed.
Last year the Special Clinton Interim Preservation District
passed by the City Planning Commission and the Board of Estimate, imposed a
series of temporary one-year controls within the Clinton area to permit the City
together with the affected community to prepare a plan for the affected area and
a permanent special zoning district in implementation thereof. Since that time,
community and City representatives working with a planning consultant have been
working to develop a community plan to bolster and strengthen the community and
protect it from pressures generated by the new Convention Center slated to be
built along the Hudson River between West 45th and West 47th Streets. Many of
the zoning recommendations of that plan, Clinton: A Plan for Preservation, are
incorporated in this special zoning District.
This report as
modified by the special zoning district constitutes a well considered plan for
the area. The study for that plan was undertaken by the consulting firm of
Weiner/Gran. For the period of the study a subcommittee composed of Weiner/Gran,
representatives of the Clinton community, the City Planning Commission, the
Housing and Development Administration and the Office of Midtown Planning and
Development actively participated in reviewing and discussing all the ideas and
information that finally appeared in the report.
This study process
was made possible by a foundation grant. It is hoped that the subcommittee will
continue to refine and help administer the provisions of the Special District.
It is our hope that additional foundation funding will be available to permit
continuance of the useful work of this group.
The study examined
the existing conditions in Clinton including: land use, traffic and
transportation, local economy, population, housing, community facilities and
open space and assemblage. The final report contained various proposals for the
future development of Clinton which included: a special zoning district, use of
housing subsidies to preserve and rehabilitate housing, measures for improving
the local economy, recommendations for traffic in the area, an open space
program and recommendations concerning decentralization of services in the
According to the
Weiner/Gran Study, the primary housing goal in Clinton is to rehabilitate the
existing housing and retain rent levels that the current tenants can afford.
Municipal loans alone are not adequate to do this, and the study recommends
coupling them with either land write-downs or rent supplements. In response to
deteriorating effect of speculative land assemblages on. Clinton's housing,
increased code enforcement by the area office is recommended. The report
suggests that instead of receiving a FAR bonus for providing a plaza, developers
of luxury housing and office buildings in the Perimeter Area should receive
bonuses for housing rehabilitation or other community needs. The report is
critical of high-rise developments and recommends that the Preservation Area be
developed only with low rise housing that conforms to the existing neighborhood
scale. To facilitate this, parking requirements should be waived. The
consultants stress the importance of providing new and rehabilitated housing at
moderate rent levels. They also feel that tenant education and cooperative
ownership should be encouraged in order to help maintain a stable community.
ideas and recommendations of the Clinton Plan are reflected in the special
zoning district which provides for the balanced development of Clinton.
Planning must take
cognizance of the changing needs of the community. With the advent of the
Convention Center, a necessary facility of city-wide importance, on the Western
perimeter of Clinton, pre-existing zoning failed to protect the community from
speculative development pressure. Without a Convention Center in this location a
different zoning package might have been appropriate. The provisions of this
Special District are meant to deal with the predictable development pressures
caused by the construction of the Convention Center.
Special District preserves the bulk of the Clinton residential and manufacturing
community but provides for controlled development on the perimeter of the
neighborhood. It would divide Clinton into four areas.
- The Preservation area would form the core of the special district. Its
boundaries are designed to include the heart of the Clinton neighborhood and the
bulk of the area's sound housing.
sound buildings containing housing in this area would be forbidden without a
special permit from the City Planning Commission and Board of Estimate. To issue
a demolition permit, the Commission would have to find that the building was
ineligible for rehabilitation under any publicly assisted program, that tenants
living in the building would be properly relocated and that the new building
would contain enough apartments to replace the demolished structure.
New buildings on
side streets would be limited to 66 feet or seven stories -- whichever was more
restrictive. The area would be conditionally zoned R8, but building bulk would
be restricted to that of R7-2 districts; this would encourage the construction
of five- and six-story buildings in harmony with the rest of the neighborhood.
thoroughfares would be zoned for ground floor commercial uses to encourage
lively neighborhood retail shopping. Portions of the area zoned for higher
density commercial uses would be subject to the same bulk restrictions as the R8
It was the
Commission's intention to limit residential bulk and density in the Preservation
Area to the level permitted in R8 Districts. A lot area per room control was
spelled out in the legislation to clarify this point. This together with the
requirement that 3 1/2 rooms be the average number of rooms in a dwelling unit
and that at least 20 percent of the dwelling units contain at least 4 1/2 rooms
would assure apartments of the type that would meet the needs of the
To achieve this
same end in the Mixed Use Area dwelling units in rehabilitation-type
enlargements, extensions or alterations of residential buildings must have an
average of 3 1/2 rooms with no increase in the number of dwelling units
Because no new
residential buildings are allowed in the Mixed Use Area, a density control is
necessary only for rehabilitation of existing buildings. A prohibition against
increasing the number of dwelling units serves this purpose. It will avoid
placing undue hardship on owners of dwelling units who wish to perform moderate
rehabilitation on buildings whose present number may not comply with the lot
area per room requirement of the Preservation Area. Although the control in the
Mixed Use Area is therefore slightly different than in the Preservation Area,
this difference relates to the underlying difference in character between the
predominantly residential Preservation Area where new residential development is
to be encouraged and the Mixed Use Area where a large portion of the land is in
non-residential use which is not sought to be disturbed.
PERIMETER AREA -
The perimeter area would be zoned to permit high density residential and
commercial development. Through the provisions of the Special District, new
construction in the perimeter area would be able to benefit the preservation
area. Builders in the certain portions of perimeter area could receive building
bulk bonuses of up to 20 percent for rehabilitating housing in the preservation
area and maintaining rents in this rehabilitated housing at $37 per room per
month. Bulk bonuses could also be gained by developing and maintaining parks on
land already vacant within the preservation area. Rentals from the additional
space the owner would be permitted to build could help to subsidize rentals in
the rehabilitated buildings or pay for park maintenance.
In portions of the
perimeter which are proposed to be upzoned (the Western Perimeter), demolition
of buildings involving eviction is conditioned upon the developer's meeting the
requirements for a certificate of eviction under the Rent Control Law, whether
or not the units are in fact rent controlled. In those portions of the Perimeter
Area to be upzoned (the Eastern Perimeter), demolition of buildings containing
residential uses will require certification by HDA that applicable legal
requirements concerning eviction have been met. . . .