Community Board Six Resolution, East 58th Street Tower

The following resolution was announced at the Community Board Six meeting on May 13, 2015. Sign the petition against the Sutton Place 'Megatower.'

Manhattan Community Board Six

Land Use & Waterfront

May 2015

Re: Proposed new residential tower at 428-432 East 58 St and; Discussion of other Mid-block R10 Districts.

WHEREAS, 426-432 East 58 St. is a mid-block site that is, and has been, zoned “R10” since 1961; and,

WHEREAS, according to a sales brochure and published reports with renderings, a building is planned on this site that is proposed to be “over 900 feet tall”; and,

WHEREAS, over 100 persons from the Sutton Place community attended the May 2015 meeting of the Land Use & Waterfront Committee to express very strong concerns regarding what the community and elected officials believe is the inappropriate scale of the proposed building; and,

WHEREAS, the community expressed strong opinions that the proposed construction will ruin the scale and character of their neighborhood; and,

WHEREAS, according to news reports, the proposed new building is “as of right”; and,

WHEREAS, Community Board 6 (CB6) invited the developer or representatives to the meeting and the response was that plans are not yet prepared for presentation; and,

WHEREAS, in a sales brochure and news reports, the developer has indicated that they look forward to conducting “an open dialogue with members of the Sutton Place community…”; and,

WHEREAS, the “R10” zoning designation includes no height limit and is throughout the Sutton Place neighborhood, both on the avenues and mid-blocks; and,

WHEREAS, since most R10 districts exist on the avenues and not mid-blocks, CB6 will support rezoning the mid-block areas to a lower density such as R10A or R8; and,

WHEREAS, residents of the vicinity have acted urgently, aggressively, and in overwhelming numbers to request that Manhattan Community Board 6 take immediate action; and,

WHEREAS, such immediate action could include 1) rezoning the area, which will take several months, 2) requesting governmental action such as a delay by the Department of Buildings upon receipt of the application for approval of plans, or 3) a moratorium on super-high towers, of which there are several under construction or planned in Manhattan; and,

WHEREAS, other Manhattan community boards, and, in recent days CB6, have explored a moratorium, which would require action by City Council, and such a moratorium appears to be very realistic if certain conditions are met; and,

WHEREAS, recent advances in building technology have made these super-high towers possible, and they were not conceivable in 1961 when the zoning districts were created; and,

WHEREAS, the impacts of these super-high towers, a recent innovation, cannot be fairly and completely assessed, including their impacts on the infrastructure, traffic, parking, waste removal, fire, and ambulance, thus further investigation and study is needed, especially since this development at 426-432 E. 58 St. appears to be as-of-right;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT

RESOLVED,

RESOLVED, that CB6 urges City Council to seriously consider such action as may be necessary, including the possibility of a moratorium on all super-high towers city wide, with a strictly defined time limitation, to further study the impacts of this proposed building BEFORE the plans proceed further;

and, be it further

RESOLVED, that CB6 requests the Departments of Buildings and City Planning review the proposed plans for building at 426-432 East 58 St to confirm that the construction is “as of right,” and report their findings so as to ensure that permits for the construction of the facility will not be issued in error;

and, be it further

RESOLVED, that CB6 urgently requests a meeting with the Department of City Planning and the Manhattan Borough President’s office, as quickly as possible, to discuss out-of-context building heights as well as a limitation on overall building heights that might be assembled by the purchase of “air rights”;

and, be it further

RESOLVED, that CB6 supports rezoning the area to a lower density, in response to community concerns, and CB6 will work with the community and the Department of City Planning to determine the best possible rezoning for the future of the neighborhood;

and, be it further

RESOLVED, that CB6 urges the owner of 426-432 East 58 St. to take note of the overwhelming community opposition to the proposed building height, so that the property might be developed in an open dialogue with the goal of full community support.