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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

A proposal by the Department of City Planning for an amendment to the Off-Street Parking Regulations in Manhattan Community Boards 1-8

At the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, December 13, 2012, the Board passed the following resolution by a vote of 36 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The Department of City Planning (DCP) is proposing to revise the zoning regulations governing off-street parking in the Manhattan Core - Manhattan Community Districts 1-8, south of 96th Street on the East Side and below 110th Street on the West Side; and

WHEREAS, under the current regulations in CB#5 a developer can build – for a residential building – 1 parking space for every 5 apartments and if the developer seeks to build more than this amount of parking they need to go through a special permit – a full ULURP; and

WHEREAS, the Manhattan Core has parking regulations which have been in place for 30 years were created in order to help reduce air pollution from vehicular emissions.  The regulations do not require any parking to be built as a part of a new development and have limitations on the amount of parking that can be built; and

WHEREAS, DCP's Manhattan Core Public Parking Study – begun in 2008 - identified recent trends in off-street parking as well as a number of issues in the existing parking regulations which suggested to the Department that it was time to re-examine the parking rules; and

WHEREAS, The Manhattan Core Public Parking Study produced a number of findings: 

·         The existing parking regulations have been compatible with population and job growth in Manhattan Community Boards 1-8.  As travel mode over time has shifted toward transit, off-street parking is less critical as a resource although it still plays an important role in supporting economic activity and meeting the parking needs of Manhattan residents. 

·         Levels of car ownership in the Manhattan Core are relatively low. Approximately 23 percent of Manhattan Core households own a car, compared with 46 percent in the rest of New York City. 

·         In contrast with 1982, when most public parking was utilized by commuters and commercial users, a large portion of spaces in public parking facilities is now used by Manhattan residents (approx. 40% for CB5).

·         Most new as-of-right parking facilities in the Manhattan Core operate as public facilities despite zoning regulations that requires parking to be reserved for building users (accessory) only.  These facilities are available to neighborhood residents who do not live in the building. 

WHEREAS, informed by this parking study the Department of City Planning is proposing changes which they argue are designed to meet parking needs while also addressing the objectives of encouraging public transit and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, the Department has stated they seek to modify of the zoning resolution in order to:   

·         Create additional requirements for applicants seeking more parking that they can build as-of-right by requiring that special permit demonstrate a need for additional parking spaces in that immediate area. These new criteria would give additional information to the Community Board, Borough President, the City Planning Commission and City Council. 

·         Promote pedestrian safety and efficient vehicular movement with new layout and design requirements for new parking facilities, such as requiring a speed bump at the entrance to a facility. 

·         Allow all new parking facilities to operate as public facilities within the maximum amounts allowed today, helping to meet the needs of both neighborhood residents and visitors.

·         Establish regulations for automated parking facilities.

·         Provide greater flexibility for rental cars and other small commercial vans and vehicles to park in public garages. 

·         Increase the minimum loading dock depth to 37' x 12' from 33' x 12'. 

·         Modify the existing floor area exemption for parking spaces between curb level up to 23' in new developments only for buildings wrapped to a depth of 30' with non-parking floor area.

·         Allow for reductions or removal of once-required parking by a City Planning Commission authorization – essentially some buildings built before 1982 had a parking requirement, this proposal would allow for a parking reduction through an authorization process.  

WHEREAS, Community Board Five in light of the flooding created by Hurricane Sandy encourages the Department to investigate flood control measures that could be put in place for below grade parking facilities; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five recognizes the ever changing nature of our district and the need to continue to refine our regulations to address these changes and also the importance of parking as a shared community resource in the CBD; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of the proposal by The Department of City Planning to modify off-street parking regulations for Manhattan Community Boards 1-8.

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