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ENB - Region 2 Notices 12/21/2011

Negative Declaration

Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond Counties (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island) - The New York City Planning Commission, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Zone Green Text Amendment will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves proposed zoning map and text amendments with citywide applicability. This proposal seeks to modernize the Zoning Resolution to remove impediments to the construction and retrofitting of greener buildings. Buildings can be designed to save money for owners and tenants, provide a healthier environment, reduce the burden on city infrastructure, and support our ecology. But green building features are sometimes discouraged or even prohibited by existing zoning regulations. The proposal will give owners more choices for the investments they can make to save energy, save money, and improve environmental performance. This proposal will help bring our buildings into the 21st century while protecting the character and quality of life of our neighborhoods.

The proposed actions include the following components:

  1. Energy-efficient building walls: Well insulated exterior walls reduce heating and cooling demands, lowering home heating bills and summer air conditioning bills. But zoning today sometimes prohibits adding insulation to the exterior of existing buildings or penalizes thicker walls.
    The proposal will allow existing buildings to add external insulation within the property line while exempting it from floor area calculations and yard regulations. This typically adds about four inches of wall thickness, but up to eight inches would be allowed to encourage highly efficient retrofits. For new buildings whose walls are substantially more efficient than required by code, up to eight inches of wall thickness could be exempted from floor area, encouraging high-performance buildings without changing the amount of usable space in the building.
  2. Sun control devices: These horizontal or vertical projections can help reduce air-conditioning needs and lighting bills by providing glare-free natural light, while adding interest to the building façade. Zoning today often does not allow sun control devices to project over required open areas.
    The proposal: Above the ground floor, allow sun control devices and awnings to project 2'-6" over required open areas, but not to cover more than 30 percent of the façade from which they project.
  3. Solar energy: Solar power can provide pollution-free energy for electricity or hot water, reducing utility bills and carbon emissions. Today, zoning does not allow solar installations above the maximum permitted building height.
    The proposal: Allow solar panels on flat roofs anywhere below the parapet, regardless of building height. Taller solar installations would be subject to limits on roof coverage and height. On sloping roofs, panels would be allowed to be flat-mounted (less than 18" high).
  4. Other rooftop equipment: In a dense city where space is at a premium, rooftops can serve a wide range of purposes, including managing stormwater, providing recreation space, or generating renewable energy. In addition, systems such as boilers and cogeneration facilities can be safer and more efficient when located on roofs. Key building systems such as stair and elevator bulkheads must also be located on roofs. However, zoning districts with contextual height limits restrict the space available for these systems above the maximum building height.
    The proposal: Allow low-lying features such as green roofs, recreational decks, and skylights anywhere below the parapet, regardless of building height. A guardrail no more than 30% opaque would be allowed up to 3'6" above the top surface of the roof. Greater volume, similar to what is already allowed in many Special Districts, would be allowed above the maximum building height to accommodate modern bulkheads, with requirements for setback and screening of equipment.
  5. Rooftop greenhouses: Greenhouses on industrial, commercial and school buildings can enable year-round local food production and provide valuable educational opportunities within a dense urban environment. Unfortunately, limitations on floor area or building height have constrained opportunities for these facilities.
    The proposal: By certification of the Chair of the City Planning Commission, a greenhouse would be exempt from floor area and height limits, provided that it is located on top of a building that does not contain residences or sleeping accommodations. These greenhouses must not exceed 25 feet in height, must set back six feet from the roof edge, and must include practical measures to limit water and energy consumption.
  6. Wind energy: Wind energy generation in New York City makes the most sense where winds are consistent - on taller buildings and near the waterfront. Today, small wind turbines are allowed if they do not exceed a building height limit.

The proposal: On buildings taller than 100 feet, a wind turbine assembly may rise up to 55' above the rooftop (including the pole and rotor), provided it is set back at least 10 feet from any property line. In addition, free-standing or building-mounted turbines would be allowed in commercial developments near the waterfront. Installations must follow all requirements from the Department of Buildings.

The analysis year for the proposed actions is 2021.

To avoid the potential for significant adverse impacts related to air quality, noise and hazardous materials, an (E) designation has been incorporated into the proposed actions.

The project is located city-wide in New York City, New York.

Contact: Celeste Evans, New York City Department of City Planning, 22 Reade Street Room 4E, New York, NY 10007, Phone: (212) 720-3321, E-mail: c_evans@planning.nyc.gov.

Kings County (Brooklyn) - The New York State University Construction Fund, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed SUNY Downstate Medical Center New Academic Building will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves the construction of a 117,000 gross square foot School of Public Health on the northern portion of SUNY Downstate Medical Center campus. The project will also include grading and landscaping. The project is located at 450 Clarkson Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.

Contact: Margaret McSorley, New York State University Construction Fund, 353 Broadway, Albany, NY 12246, Phone: 518 320 1710, E-mail: peggy.mcsorley@suny.edu.

New York County (Manhattan) - The New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Finance, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Solar 2 will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves the development of Solar 2, a planned 8,000 square foot Environmental Center. The project is located 24-20 Service Road East in Manhattan, New York.

Contact: Christopher J. Collins, Solar One, 37 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10010, Phone: (212) 505-6050, E-mail: chris@solar2.org.

New York County (Manhattan) - The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Goldwater North will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves the application for several public approvals, including a mayoral zoning override and use of capital funding by New York City and/or the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, that would facilitate the establishment of a long term acute care hospital (LTACH) and skilled nursing facility (SNF) at the former North General Hospital (NGH) property. The project is also being implemented pursuant to the approval of Certificates of Need (CONs) granted by the New York State Department of Health. The existing approximately 276,000 gross square foot former NGH building would be converted to house a 201 bed LTACH and a new approximately 136,000 gross square foot building would be constructed on the project site's existing accessory parking lot and service yard that would be occupied by a 164 bed SNF. The proposed project involves the closure of and relocation and right-sizing of operations currently housed at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island. The project is located at 1879 Madison Avenue in Manhattan, New York.

Contact: Robert Holbrook, New York City Health and Hospital Corporation, 110 Williams Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10038, (212) 312-3706, E-mail: rholbrook@nycedc.com.

Richmond County - The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Creation of Public Access at the Former Blissenbach Marina will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. The action involves a proposal by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC DPR) in partnership with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), for the creation of public waterfront access space and recreational amenities on the site of the former Blissenbach Marina.

The project area consists of approximately 2.69 acres of existing (but non-publicly accessible) parkland. The former Blissenbach Marina site was donated to New York City in 2004 for park purposes by TPL with financial assistance provided by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The project location is the eastern portion of the park consisting of Block 185, Lots 43, 45, 48, 49, 127, 129, 130, 132, 133, 134, 135, and 386. The parkland comprises two individual parcels. The first fronts on Richmond Terrace and contains a building that is currently used by NYC DPR for office space for the Park Enforcement Patrol. This project will make no changes to the building. The second parcel is on the Kill Van Kull. The two parcels are separated by an unused right-of-way for the former Staten Island Rapid Transit Line (SIRTL). Based on available records, block 185 lot 276 is a privately owned linear strip of land located north of the former SIRTL, and abutting the waterfront parkland. NYC DPR is coordinating with the current owner to facilitate the open space improvements.

The intent of the project is to remediate the site, conduct minor landward side bulkhead repair, secure the perimeter, improve access from Richmond Terrace, beautify the landscape and provide basic site amenities. The amenities would include an activity lawn, walking paths and site furnishings. New water service, fencing, vehicular drop off, 25 parking spaces, new landscaping and an improved park entrance are also part of the proposed project. The project is expected to be complete in 2012.

The project is located on approximately 2.69 acres of existing (but non-publicly accessible) parkland at 1595 Richmond Terrace, along the Kill Van Kull Waterway in Staten Island, New York.

Contact: Nick Molinari, NYC DPR, 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 3, New York, NY 10065, Phone: _(212) 360-3413, E-mail: nicholas.molinari@parks.nyc.gov.

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