Chapter 9 - Special Little Italy District (LI)
The "Special Little Italy District" established in this Resolution is designed to promote and protect public health, general welfare and amenity. These general goals include, among others, the following specific purposes:
(a) to preserve and strengthen the historical and cultural character of the community;
(b) to protect the scale of storefronts and character of the existing retail uses along Mulberry Street and other major shopping streets so that Little Italy will remain a unique regional shopping area, and thereby strengthen the economic base of the City;
(c) to preserve the vitality of street life by reducing conflict between pedestrian and vehicular traffic;
(d) to permit rehabilitation and new development consistent with the residential character and scale of the existing buildings in the area;
(e) to provide amenities, such as public open space, and street trees, to improve the physical environment;
(f) to discourage the demolition of noteworthy buildings which are significant to the character of the area; and
(g) to promote the more desirable use of land in the area and thus to preserve the value of land and buildings, and thereby protect and strengthen the City's tax revenues, consistent with the foregoing purposes.
For the purposes of this Chapter, matter in italics is defined in Section 12-10 (DEFINITIONS) or Section 109-01 (Definitions).
Open recreation space
"Open recreation space" is that part of a zoning lot, including courts, yards and roof areas, which is unobstructed from its lowest level to the sky except for landscaping and planting requirements pursuant to Sections 109-14, 109-34 and 109-42.
In harmony with the general purposes and intent of this Resolution and the general purposes of the Special Little Italy District and in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter, certain specified regulations of the districts on which the Special Little Italy District are superimposed are made inapplicable, and special regulations are substituted therefore in this Chapter.
Except as modified by the express provisions of this Special District, the regulations of the underlying zoning district remain in effect. For the purposes of this Chapter, the provisions of Sections 23-15, 23-20 and 33-13 are made inapplicable.
The use of the public streets and sidewalks for the maintenance of sidewalk cafes, outdoor cafes or any other structures shall require the separate approval of the Board of Estimate, which may be granted upon such terms and conditions as the Board of Estimate may deem appropriate.
Within the Special District, in accordance with a comprehensive survey of its structures, buildings of special significance to the community and City as a whole, have been identified and are listed in Appendix B. Such buildings are unique either because they are socially or traditionally significant or because they are important physical influences in the life and image of the community. Such buildings shall not be demolished or have their external architectural features altered except as set forth in Section 109-52 (Special Permit Provisions). No demolition permit or alteration permit for alterations which may affect the exterior of such buildings shall be issued by the Department of Buildings for any such building except as permitted by the City Planning Commission pursuant to Section 109-52 (Special Permit Provisions) unless it is an unsafe building and demolition is required pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, Chapter 2, Article 216 of the New York City Administrative Code.
The District Map for the Special Little Italy District (Appendix A) identifies specific areas comprising the Special District in which special zoning regulations carry out the general purposes of the Special Little Italy District. These areas and the sections of this Chapter which contain regulations pertaining thereto are as follows:
Area A PRESERVATION AREA (Section 109-10)
Area A1 MULBERRY STREET REGIONAL SPINE (Section 109-20)
Area B HOUSTON STREET CORRIDOR (Section 109-30)
Area C BOWERY, CANAL, KENMARE STREET CORRIDOR (Section 109-40)
The District Map in Appendix A of this Chapter is hereby incorporated as an integral part of the Special Little Italy District.
Whenever a zoning lot is divided by the boundaries of an area as created by Section 109-03 (District Map) and as indicated on the District Map in Appendix A, the zoning lot shall be subject to the regulations of the area in which the greater portion of its frontage lies except that, in the case of any zoning lot having 15 feet or more frontage within Area A1 (Mulberry Street Regional Spine), the regulations of Area A1 shall apply to such zoning lot.
The provisions of this Section 109-10, inclusive, shall apply within Area A (Preservation Area) as shown on the District Map in Appendix A.
The continuation, extension or change of use of existing commercial or manufacturing uses within Area A shall be governed by the underlying district use regulations.
For any building or portion of a building developed or enlarged after February 3, 1977, within Area A, uses listed in the underlying district regulations are permitted except that such uses shall not include those listed in Use Groups 6D, 8C, 10, and 12D, unless authorized by the City Planning Commission pursuant to Section 109-514 (Modifications by authorization).
Within Area A, the maximum floor area ratio for a zoning lot shall not exceed the following:
Maximum Permitted Floor Area Ratio
Interior or through lots
Within Area A, the maximum lot coverage for a zoning lot shall not exceed the following percentages:
Maximum Lot Coverage (in percent)
Through lot, except as provided below
However, when a through lot is developed with more than one building, the maximum lot coverage on such through lot may be increased from 60 percent to 70 percent, provided that no portion of any building on such zoning lot penetrates the "Rear Height Limit Plane," as set forth in this Section. The Rear Height Limit Plane shall begin at a point 23 feet above curb level and shall be located 30 feet away from, and on both sides of, the line equidistant from the two street lines. The slope of the Rear Height Limit Plane shall be 2.7 feet vertical to 1 foot horizontal.
All buildings developed after February 3, 1977, shall have a rear yard with a depth of not less than 30 feet.
REAR HEIGHT LIMIT PLANE
The maximum height of any building or other structure shall not exceed 75 feet or seven stories above the curb level, whichever is less, unless allowed by the City Planning Commission pursuant to Section 109-514.
However, the provisions of this Section shall not apply to enlargements if, prior to February 2, 2011, a building permit has been lawfully issued authorizing such construction.
The front building wall of any building shall extend along the full length of its front lot line not occupied by existing buildings to remain and shall rise without setback up to a height of six stories or 65 feet, or the height of the building, whichever is less. Above that height, the front building wall shall set back at least 10 feet. Front wall recesses are permitted provided that the aggregate length of such recesses, excluding window fenestration, at the level of any story does not exceed 25 percent of the length of the front wall where such recesses are permitted. In the event that a development occupies an entire block frontage, additional recesses are permitted provided that there are no front wall recesses within 10 feet of the intersection of two street lines. The exterior building materials of the front wall shall be predominantly of masonry.
For buildings developed after February 3, 1977, and for buildings enlarged on the ground floor level after February 3, 1977, at least 25 percent of the total surface area of the entire front wall of a development or the enlarged portion, up to a height of 12 feet above curb level or to the ceiling of the ground story, whichever is higher, shall be transparent. Transparent areas may include storefronts subject to Section 109-50. Door or window openings within such surface areas shall be considered transparent. Such opening shall have a minimum width of two feet. In addition, any portion of such building wall 20 feet or more in length, which contains no transparent areas at ground floor level, shall be covered with vines or similar planting in permitted front wall recesses, or be treated so as to provide visual relief from large expanses of blank walls. Planting shall consist of shrubs, ivy or creepers and shall be planted in soil having a depth of not less than 2 feet, 6 inches, and a minimum width of 24 inches.
For any building or portion of a building developed or enlarged after February 3, 1977, a minimum of 20 percent of the lot area of the zoning lot shall be provided as usable landscaped open recreation space accessible to the occupants of such development or enlargement. Such open recreation space may be accessible to the public.
Such open recreation space shall be located at the ground level and/or the roof level. However, if such open recreation space is located both at the ground level and at the roof level, not less than 40 percent may be located at either location. Such open recreation space shall be landscaped and properly maintained in accordance with the provisions of Section 109-142.
The required open recreation space, as provided in Section 109-141, on a zoning lot containing a development or enlargement shall be landscaped and maintained in the following manner.
Ground level open recreation space shall:
(a) have a minimum dimension of 20 feet for a development and 10 feet for an enlargement, measured perpendicular to its perimeter;
(b) have no portion used as a driveway, vehicular access way or for parking, and shall be screened from off-street loading and service areas;
(c) have a minimum of one linear foot of seating for each 50 square feet of open recreation space, conforming to the following standards:
(1) seating shall have a minimum depth of 16 inches; seating with backs at least 12 inches high shall have a minimum depth of 14 inches; seating 30 inches or more in depth shall count double provided there is access to both sides;
(2) seating higher than 36 inches and lower than 12 inches above the level of the adjacent walking surface shall not count toward meeting the seating requirements;
(3) the tops of walls including but not limited to those which bound planting beds, fountains and pools may be counted as seating when they conform to the dimensional standards in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this Section;
(4) movable seating or chairs may be credited as 30 inches of linear seating per chair; and
(5) steps do not count toward the seating requirements;
(d) have paved areas paved with unit pavers, such as bricks or quarry tiles, or poured-in-place materials. If poured-in-place materials are selected, they shall be of decorative color and/or textures, through the use of dyes and/or exposed aggregates. All paving shall have a non-skid surface;
(e) be landscaped with shrubs, vines, ground cover or plants in planters over a minimum of 25 percent of the open recreation space area;
(f) be planted with one tree of not less than three and one-half inch caliper for every 1,000 square feet or portion thereof of required open recreation space. Such trees shall be planted in at least 100 cubic feet of soil of at least 3 feet, 6 inches in depth;
(g) have all mechanical equipment which is located at the same elevation as the open recreation space, or on a wall of the building frontage upon such open recreation space within a height of 10 feet, 6 inches above the level of the open recreation space, screened and buffered with no intake or exhaust fans facing directly into the open recreation space; and
(h) be maintained by the building owner who shall be responsible for the maintenance of the open recreation space including, but not limited to, the repair and confinement of all amenities, litter control, and the care and replacement of vegetation within the zoning lot and in the street sidewalk area adjacent to the zoning lot, pursuant to Section 109-14 (Open Recreation Space and Landscaping Regulations).
Open recreation space at roof level shall:
(1) have all mechanical equipment which is located at the same elevation as the open recreation space, or on a wall of the building fronting upon such open recreation space within a height of 10 feet, 6 inches above the level of the open recreation space, screened and buffered with no intake or exhaust fans facing directly onto the open recreation space;
(2) have a minimum of one linear foot of seating for each 50 square feet of open recreation space, conforming to seating standards set forth for ground level open recreation space; and
(3) be landscaped with shrubs, vines, flowers, ground cover and/or plants in planters over a minimum of 25 percent of the open recreation space area.