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Waterfront zoning text under fire.

While the New York City Planning Commissionlastweekproudlypresented the first zoning rules for development on the city's 578 miles of waterfront, The Real Board of New York said it will continueto lobby againstthestandards as they go before the City Council.

Thezoningtext, for which mapping has yet to be created, ensures developers of larger commercial and residential projects provide greater public access to the waterfront -- opening 15 to 20 percent of their projects to the public -- and limits the height of future structures.

"The Real Estate Board is not that pleased with many elements," said REBNY Vice President Warren Wechsler.

REBNY, said Wechsler, objects to the extent to which the developer is expected to maintain the public space within his project.

The desireto "packthebulk" or require that the majority of the building's mass be toward the bottom of the building has been seen before in decisions by the current Planning Commission.

This, Wechsler said, will create cannon-like walls along the waterfront. Building height limits are said to range from 11 to 35 stories.

Packing the bulk will also reduce the number of tower apartments, which, Wechsler said, are the most desirable and help make up the exceptional costs of building on the waterfront.

REBNY will testify, he said, before the Council at a public hearing that must be held before the Council takes its vote with in 50 days after issuance of the rules.

The Planning Commission announced that this zoning text will enable them to continuethe process outlined in the City Planning Department's Comprehensive Waterfront Plan released one year ago. Other measures would provide: *Development on piers would be limited to recreational uses *Lands under water will no longer generate floor area *Ferries, excursion and fishing boats, currently restricted to manufacturing-zoned areas, would be permitted in a wide variety of commercial zones with appropriate size and parking

The zoning text includes a grandfather provision for projects previously approved such as Donald Trump's Riverside South and Brighton-by-the Sea. A spokesperson for the Planning Commission said that Riverside South contains substantial open space, including a 21-acre park, and that since it was approved after the release of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan it is "consistent" with the Planning Commission's ideals.

DespiteREBNY's objections, somesee a zoning text providing certainty where there was none because there were previously no rules specifically governing the waterfront,

This will eliminate the "let's make a deal" zoning" that developers who propose to build on the waterfront have had to deal with in the past, said Sybil Pollet, Esq., a zoning and land use attorney.

"Although the zoning is somewhat generic in nature, it seems to me that any textgivingthedevelopment and financial communities and the city predictability, so they can evaluate their projects in advance, is positive."
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Title Annotation:Real Board of New York plans lobbying effort against New York City Planning Commission's zoning rules for waterfront development
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 25, 1993
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