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Consents & Variances


WHEREAS, The applicant seeks a permit to install and operate a newsstand on SWC of Union Square West and East 15th Street, and

WHEREAS, The applicant's measurements and schematic drawings are incorrect and therefore non-compliant with DCA and DOT regulations; and

WHEREAS, There is a required 35 feet of space between the main bank entrance and the Sketcher's retail space (which is broken down to include a required 15 ft of space between the bank entrance and the newsstand, 10ft for the newsstand itself, and the required 10 ft. of space between the newsstand and any retail entrance); and

WHEREAS, The above required total is 35 feet; the measurements subsequently done by members of Community Board Five show that only 24 ft. 10 inches of space actually exists;  and

WHEREAS, this distance is more than 10 ft. deficient from making it compliant; and

WHEREAS, Five individuals (Union Square Partnership / Victoria Owner's Corporation / Newark Knight Frank / Buchbinder & Warren LLC / 15 Union Square Condominium) presented information in the interest of the community surrounding the Union Square Park to oppose the proposed newsstand; and

WHEREAS, Their collective concerns involve:

a)  increased pedestrian traffic, specifically that there has been a 59% increase at intersections surrounding the Union Square Park between 2003-2008; and

b)  that a newsstand location would inhibit access along the narrow street that is Union Square West; and

c)  that this proposed newsstand would unnecessarily duplicate services already found in the immediate vicinity, specifically an existing newsstand in the NWC of 14th Street and Union Square West and a 'brick and mortar'  convenience store between 15th and 16th - less than a block away; and

WHEREAS, CB5 already has serious concerns about pedestrian safety at this street corner and all around the Union Square Park area; and

WHEREAS, The newly approved construction of a middle school and high school in CB5 on the South side of East 15th Street, between 5th Avenue and Union Square West should also be a consideration and although it is not yet constructed, once it is finished, the pedestrian traffic in that area will dramatically increase due to the student population that will be attending the school; and

WHEREAS, The placement of the proposed newsstand would only serve to increase pedestrian congestion thereby potentially causing people to have to walk in the street; and

WHEREAS, Pedestrians in street traffic create a particularly dangerous situation; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five finds that the proposed newsstand is not compliant with the required DOT and DCA regulations and therefore Community Board Five recommends denial of the application to install a newsstand on SWC of Union Square West and East 15th Street; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five finds that the installation of a newsstand at this location would negatively impact pedestrian traffic by creating further congestion, thus making for an unsafe condition for pedestrian and vehicular traffic; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five urges DOT to proceed with the pedestrian counts at this location on any weekday between 5pm and 6pm.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 32 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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