Canal St. residents hail vote on Arman project
By Lincoln Anderson
Opponents of a variance application for a new 10-story building by Arman the sculptor at 482 Greenwich St. in Hudson Square were disappointed that Community Board 2 at its July 21 full board meeting approved some aspects of the variance.
The full board approved the resolution passed by its Zoning and Housing Committee on July 14. That resolution recommended denial of the part of the variance application requesting an increase in bulk noting there was no justification for such an increase from a floor-to-area ratio of 6.02 to an F.A.R. of 7.98. (F.A.R. represents the amount of buildable space allowed relative to the size of the buildings footprint.)
Yet, opponents had hoped the full board would overturn the Zoning and Housing Committees approval of other parts of the variance application. However, in line with the committee which found that the developer would face hardship because the corner lot at Greenwich and Canal Sts. is small and triangular the full board voted to approve allowing the new project to cover 100 percent of the lot, rather than the 80 percent coverage allowed under Hudson Squares recent rezoning. The board also voted to support including accessory parking and curb cuts for a garage in the buildings Greenwich St. side.
The resolution did not comment on the lack of setbacks on the projects sheer walls, a major concern of residents. Yet, as David Reck, the Zoning and Housing Committees chairperson, has previously stated, if the F.A.R. is kept at the current level, then the street walls will not rise to a height where setbacks would legally be required under current zoning.
Critics and neighbors of the project spoke out against the variance during the meetings public session.
So is this big box being approved, then? Patrick McDonough, who owns a townhouse with a two-story penthouse addition at 482 Greenwich St., asked the board. If this is a small, irregular lot, wouldnt it make sense to build a small, irregular building?
When the board voted later to approve the committees resolution, McDonough and Sol Rosenblatt, a resident of 481 Greenwich St., sat in stunned anger.
Somebody isnt hearing the community, McDonough said.
There are huge E.P.A. concerns were the second-worst polluted place in the city, Rosenblatt said. Rosenblatt feels if the new building covers the full lot and has sheer walls it will funnel particulate matter carcinogens from the heavy car traffic on Canal St. up Greenwich St.
McDonough, who has a south-facing balcony that would look into the side of the new building, is more concerned about being walled in.
I dont want a building in my face, he said.
The variance application now goes to the Board of Standards and Appeals, which has the power to approve or reject the plan.