For the second time this month, a community board has rejected the city’s proposed plan to require special permits for hotel development just below Union Square.
Community Board 3 passed a resolution against the plan at its Nov. 26 meeting, after the plan was poorly received and voted against at a CB2 meeting earlier in the month.
The plan would require special permits for new hotels to be approved by City Planning, which proposed the plan, and the City Council, for most of the area between East Ninth to East 14th Streets, and Third Avenue to Fifth Avenue.
Part of the CB3 resolution read, “the city’s refusal thus far to recognize the historic significance of the current, albeit humble historic building stock that could be demolished as result of this action is disturbing.”
The board took issue with the city’s Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS).
“The EAS fails to correctly identify a broad range of historic resources in the area,” the resolution reads, “including landmarked buildings, buildings that are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, buildings, which the LPC itself previously identified as historic resources in past EASes, and buildings of clear architectural and historical significance…”
One building cited as an example was 88 East 10 St. “CB3 strongly disagrees with the DCP’s analysis that there would be no adverse impact on neighborhood character if 88 East 10th Street built in 1845 by Peter Stuyvesant were demolished,” the resolution reads.
Village Preservation also cited that building in a recent letter to the city, which said the EAS was missing much of the area’s historic significance. The letter by executive director Andrew Berman, said that not only was the Greek Revival house built by Peter Stuyvesant, but in the 20th century, it was a home and studio for artist Willem de Kooning.
The CB3 resolution concluded, “CB 3 is not opposed to additional restrictions or special permit requirements for any new hotel development or expansion in this area, as long as the findings are more restrictive and clearly defined.”
At the City Planning presentation of the plan earlier this month at CB2, City Planner Matthew Pietrus said there is little vacancy in the area, and said, “we don’t think there would be an undue increase in commercial development.”
The CB3 resolution’s recommendations included revising the EAS to recognize historic buildings in the area, and introducing “contextual downzoning” for the area between Third and Fourth Aves. and 9th to 14th Streets, which is an idea that CB3 voted for in a 2017 resolution.
After the CB3 resolution vote, Berman released a statement which read in part, “Our community boards are in total agreement with us and residents that this hotel special permit plan provides none of the protections Greenwich Village and the East Village fought for, were promised, or need. We want real landmark and zoning protections, as new development in this area — spurred in part by the City’s Tech Hub plan — is turning it into an extension of Midtown South and Silicon Alley.”
The next steps for the city’s plan include going to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, then City Planning and lastly to the City Council.