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ENB - Region 2 Notices 1/23/2013

Notice of Acceptance of Final GEIS

New York County (Manhattan) - The New York City Planning Commission, as lead agency, has accepted a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Hudson Square Rezoning. The Final GEIS may be obtained from Robert Dobruskin, New York City Department of City Planning, Environmental Assessment and Review Division, 22 Reade Street, Room 4E, New York, NY 10007, Phone: (212) 720-3423; Robert Kulikowski, Mayor's Office of Environmental Coordination, 253 Broadway, 14th floor, New York, NY 10007, Phone: (212) 788-2937; and on the New York City Department of City Planning's website at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/env_review/eis.shtml.

The action involves a proposal by the The Applicant, the Rector, Church-Wardens and Vestrymen of Trinity Church in the City of New York, is seeking approval of a zoning text amendment to create a new Special Hudson Square District and a zoning map amendment to map the proposed Special District across approximately 18 blocks within Manhattan Community District 2 (collectively, the Proposed Action). Through the Proposed Action, the Applicant seeks to activate and enhance the area known as Hudson Square by permitting mixed-use development while preserving the area's commercial base and existing built character.

The Proposed Action would allow new residential development to occur in the Rezoning Area with incentives to provide affordable housing, while instituting provisions to limit conversions of non-residential buildings to residential use and retain certain commercial uses. A reasonable worst-case development scenario (RWCDS) was developed to reflect a range of possible development under the Proposed Action. A total of 22 projected development sites (including 5 sites owned or controlled by the Applicant) and 17 potential development sites were identified on which new buildings could be constructed or existing buildings converted to residential use and/or enlarged. (The 22 projected development sites include three projected enlargement sites; the 17 potential development sites include 12 potential enlargement sites.) In the Future With the Proposed Action (the With-Action condition), it is expected that the Applicant's projected development sites would contain a total of approximately 1.29 million gross square feet of residential use (approximately 1,517 housing units, of which 274 are anticipated to be affordable pursuant to the Inclusionary Housing Program); 81,000 gross square feet of retail use; 440,000 gross square feet of office use; and a 75,000 gross square feet (444 seat) public school. Projected development sites not controlled by the Applicant are expected to contain a total of approximately 1.58 million gross square feet of residential use (approximately 1,835 housing units, of which 405 are anticipated to be affordable pursuant to the Inclusionary Housing Program); 143,000 gross square feet of retail use; and 237,000 gross square feet of office use. For environmental assessment purposes, a second RWCDS was also developed, which considers the potential development of community facility uses with sleeping accommodations (i.e., dormitories), rather than residential buildings, on certain development sites in the Rezoning Area.

Under RWCDS 1, on the projected development and projected enlargement sites, the Proposed Action could result in a net increase of 3,323 residential units (of which approximately 679 units, or 20 percent of the residential floor area, would be affordable pursuant to the Inclusionary Housing Program), approximately 139,583 gross square feet of retail use, 139,583 gross square feet of office use, 75,000 gross square feet of community facility (school) use, and 526 accessory parking spaces; as well as a net decrease of approximately 739,170 gross square feet of hotel use (approximately 1,126 hotel rooms), 382,010 gross square feet of other commercial space (including loft and storage space), and 63 public parking spaces. Assuming an average household size of 1.84 persons (the average household size in Manhattan Community District 2), the additional 3,323 dwelling units are projected to add an estimated 6,113 residents to the Rezoning Area.

Under RWCDS 2, on the projected development and projected enlargement sites, the Proposed Action could result in a net increase of 2,977 residential units (of which approximately 598 units, or 20 percent of the residential floor area, would be affordable pursuant to the Inclusionary Housing Program), approximately 99,086 gross square feet of retail use, 139,583 gross square feet of office use, 329,896 gross square feet of community facility use (comprising approximately 75,000 gross square feet of school use and 254,896 gross square feet of dormitory use [approximately 773 dormitory beds]), and 456 accessory parking spaces; as well as a net decrease of approximately 739,170 gross square feet of hotel use (approximately 1,126 hotel rooms), 382,010 gross square feet of other commercial space (including loft and storage space), and 63 public parking spaces. Assuming an average household size of 1.84 persons (the average household size in Manhattan Community District 2) and 1 student per dormitory bed, the additional 2,977 dwelling units and 773 dormitory beds are projected to add an estimated 6,249 residents to the Rezoning Area. In addition, 17 potential development sites, considered less likely to be developed in the foreseeable future, have been identified and assessed. On these sites, new buildings could be constructed or existing buildings could be converted to residential use and/or enlarged.

The Proposed Action would require a special permit from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (NYC BSA) for the development of eating and drinking establishments with a capacity of more than 200 persons, or establishments of any capacity with dancing (e.g., nightclubs). The Proposed Action would also require a special permit for hotels with more than 100 sleeping units (whether created through new construction or change of use in existing "qualifying buildings"). New hotel construction with more than 100 sleeping units would be permitted as-of-right only upon certification by the Chairperson of the New York City Planning Commission to the Commissioner of Buildings that the "residential development goal" (defined in the proposed zoning text as when certificates of occupancy have been issued for 2,255 new residential units) has been met for the Special Hudson Square District. Therefore, the Final Environmental Impact Statement includes conceptual analyses to generically assess the potential environmental impacts that could result from the development of hotel uses and nightclubs within the Rezoning Area.

As a 10 year period is typically the length of time over which developers would act on areawide rezonings such as that proposed, 2022 was selected as the analysis year for the environmental impact analyses.

The Proposed Action would result in significant adverse impacts with respect to community facilities, open space; shadows; historic and cultural resources; transportation (traffic and pedestrians); and construction impacts related to transportation (traffic and pedestrians). Mitigation measures that could wholly or partially address the significant adverse impacts related to community facilities; open space; transportation; and construction related transportation were identified in the Final EIS. The Proposed Action would result in unmitigated significant adverse shadows impacts. Regarding significant adverse impacts related to historic and cultural resources, as-of-right development that is anticipated to occur as a result of the Proposed Action on properties not controlled by the Applicant could result in unmitigated significant adverse on architectural and archaeological resources.

In addition, since the issuance of the Draft EIS, the Applicant has filed a modification to the proposed zoning text amendment. The modified text would eliminate the Subdistrict B regulations from the proposed Special District zoning text and in their place the general Special District bulk regulations would apply. This modification to the Proposed Action (ULURP No. 120381(A)ZRM), had already been considered in the Draft EIS. Further, at the time of preparation of the Final EIS, the New York City Planning Commission was considering potential modifications to the Proposed Action. The Potential New York City Planning Commission Modifications include the adoption of the Applicant's modification to the proposed zoning text amendment, filed under Application N 120381 ZRM (A) and other modifications to the Proposed Action, which are described and analyzed in the Final EIS.

The project is located within an 18 block area in the Hudson Square neighborhood of Manhattan Community District 2, 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, Email: cevans@planning.nyc.gov.


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