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Court upholds Silverstein zoning.

The State Court of Appeals rejected the environmental objections of Clinton residents to the rezoning of a parcel of land owned by Larry Silverstein that was based on hypothetical development scenarios.

The land, a full block between 11th and 12th Avenues and 41st and 42nd Street in Manhattan, was rezoned in 1989 from medium-density commercial and residential category. The court found that New York City officials had seen that the environmental impact on the neighborhood would be minimized.

Silverstein has not presented any proposals for the site and the rezoning process was conducted for hypothetical projects - four apartment towers or two office towers.

Clinton residents argue that the rezoning, using hypothetical environmental impact, gives Silverstein free rein to build a project that differs from the conjectural developments. They asserted that additional reviews should be done when Silverstein decides to proceed with the site. They also said low-income residents would be displaced.

The court held that zoning environmental review can be done on hypothetical scenarios and that the developer will not be "bound or limited" by those scenarios. Under the decision, supplemental review will not be required. The claim of low-income displacement was deemed unfounded.

The property, currently being operated as a 600-car parking lot, was purchased by Silverstein Properties after the Department of City Planning recommended the zoning change. The developer at that time planned to construct a 1600-unit residential complex. Silverstein's development plans changed, however, and the firm dropped the project, but it applied for the zoning change in April, 1988, without identifying any specific project.

Silverstein's attorney Jeffrey L. Braun of Rosenman & Colin the Environmental Impact Statement prepared was based on a study of several "worst-case developments."
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Title Annotation:State Court of Appeals rejects objections by residents, upholds rezoning agreement for land owned by Silverstein Properties Inc.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:May 13, 1992
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