Chapter 4 - Special Permits by the City Planning Commission
In harmony with the general purpose and intent of this Resolution and in accordance with the provisions set forth in this Chapter, the City Planning Commission may, after public notice and hearing, grant special permits in specific districts for the uses listed in this Chapter, whose location or control requires special consideration or major planning factors, or for specified modifications of the use or bulk regulations of this Resolution, provided that in each specific case the requirement for findings as set forth in this Chapter shall constitute a condition precedent to the grant of such special permit.
In addition to meeting the requirements, conditions, and safeguards prescribed by the Commission as set forth in this Chapter, each such special permit use or building or other structure permitted hereunder shall conform to and comply with all of the applicable regulations on use, bulk, supplementary use regulations, regulations applying along district boundaries, accessory signs, accessory off-street parking and off-street loading, and all other applicable provisions of this Resolution except as otherwise specifically provided in this Chapter.
In addition, the Commission, with the concurrence of the Board of Estimate, shall also have the power to permit the renewal of an exception or permit issued prior to December 15, 1961, in accordance with the provisions of Section 11-41 relating to Exceptions, Variances or Permits Previously Authorized.
In all Special Purpose Districts, the provisions of 23-934 (Special permit approval in Special Purpose Districts), with respect to special permits that modify use or bulk, shall apply. In the Special Midtown District, the powers of the Commission to permit special permit uses are modified by the provisions of Section 81-13 (Special Permit Use Modifications), and the powers of the Commission to permit modification of the bulk regulations or grant bonus floor area for certain amenities are made inapplicable or modified in accordance with the provisions of Section 81-062 (Applicability of Chapter 4 of Article VII).
In the waterfront area, the powers of the Commission to grant special permits are made inapplicable or modified in accordance with the provisions of Section 62-132 (Applicability of Article VII, Chapters 4, 8 and 9).
Except as permitted pursuant to this Chapter, in R3, R4 or R5 Districts, the following uses shall be subject to the height and setback requirements of an R2 District:
Public transit, railroad or electric utility substations limited to sites of not less than 40,000 square feet and not more than 10 acres
Sewage disposal plants.
It shall be a further requirement that the decision or determination of the City Planning Commission shall set forth each required finding in each specific grant of a special permit use, or modification of the use or bulk regulations, and in each denial thereof which of the required findings has not been satisfied. In any such case, each finding shall be supported by substantial evidence or other data considered by the Commission in reaching its final decision, including the personal knowledge of or inspection by the members of the Commission.
In no case shall a special permit for a proposed sewage treatment plant or pumping station under Section 74-73 of this Chapter be denied without a prior public hearing by the Commission. Such public hearing must be held by the Commission and decision given within six months of the date of filing of the request for such special permit with the Commission.
An application to the City Planning Commission for the grant of a special permit respecting any of the uses specified in this Chapter shall include a site plan showing the location and proposed use of all buildings or other structures on the site, the location of all vehicular entrances and exits and off-street parking spaces, and such other information as may be required by the Commission.
The City Planning Commission may prescribe such conditions and safeguards to the grant of special permits as it may deem necessary in the specific case, in order to minimize the adverse effects of such special permit upon other property and the community at large. Such conditions and safeguards shall be incorporated in the building permit and certificate of occupancy. Failure to comply with such conditions or restrictions shall constitute a violation of this Resolution, and may constitute the basis for denial or revocation of a building permit or certificate of occupancy and for all other applicable remedies.
The City Planning Commission shall have the power to permit in the districts indicated, the special permit uses set forth in this Chapter and to prescribe appropriate conditions and safeguards thereon, provided that in each specific case:
(a) The Commission shall make all of the findings required in the applicable sections of this Chapter with respect to each such special permit use, and shall find that the hazards or disadvantages to the community at large through the location of such use at the particular site are outweighed by the advantages to be derived by the community from the grant of such special permit use.
The Commission shall in each case determine that the adverse effects, if any, on the privacy, quiet, light and air in the neighborhood of such use will be minimized by appropriate conditions governing location of the site, design and method of operation.
(b) In all cases, the Commission shall deny a special permit use whenever such use will interfere with a public improvement project (including housing, highways, public buildings or facilities, redevelopment or renewal projects, or rights-of-way for sewers, transit or other public facilities) which is approved by or pending before the Board of Estimate or City Planning Commission, as determined from the calendar of each such agency issued prior to the date of the public hearing on the application for a special permit use.
(c) Where, under the applicable findings, the Commission is required to determine whether the special permit use is appropriately located in relation to the street system, the Commission shall make such determination on the basis of the Master Plan of Arterial Highways and Major Streets. Whenever the Commission is required to make a finding on the location of a proposed special permit use in relation to secondary or local streets and such classification of streets is not shown on the Master Plan, the Commission shall thereupon establish the appropriate classification of such streets.
(d) All applications relating to Sections 74-41 to 74-70, inclusive, and Section 74-80 shall be referred by the Commission to the Department of Traffic for its report with respect to the anticipated traffic congestion resulting from such special permit use in the proposed location, and when so required in the specific Section, the Commission shall refer the application to a designated agency for a report on the issue in question. If such agency shall report thereon within one month from the date of referral, the Commission shall, in its determination, give due consideration to such report and, further, shall have the power to substantiate the appropriate findings solely on the basis of the report by such agency with respect to the issue referred. If such agency does not report within one month, the Commission may make a final determination without reference thereto.
(e) The Commission may authorize any special permit use for such term of years as it deems appropriate.
(f) The Commission may permit the enlargement or extension of any existing use which, if new, would be permitted by special permit in the specified districts under the provisions of Section 74-01 (General Provisions) and other applicable provisions of this Chapter, provided that before granting any such permit for enlargement or extension within the permitted districts, the Commission shall make all of the required findings applicable to the special permit use, except that:
(1) in the case of public parking garages or public parking lots, the Commission may waive all such applicable required findings set forth in Section 74-51 or 74-52, except that the capacity of any such garage or lot in a C1 District shall not exceed 100 spaces; and
(2) in the case of electric utility substations or public transit or railroad electric substations, the Commission may waive all such required findings set forth in Section 74-61, except that the requirements with respect to site size shall not be waived.
No such enlargement or extension shall create a new non-compliance or increase the degree of non-compliance with the applicable bulk regulations.
Where a special permit application would allow a significant increase in residential floor area and the special floor area requirements in Mandatory Inclusionary Housing areas of paragraph (d) of Section 23-154 (Inclusionary Housing) are not otherwise applicable, the City Planning Commission, in establishing the appropriate terms and conditions for the granting of such special permit, shall apply such requirements where consistent with the objectives of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program as set forth in Section 23-92 (General Provisions). However, where the Commission finds that such special permit application would facilitate significant public infrastructure or public facilities addressing needs that are not created by the proposed development, enlargement or conversion, the Commission may modify the requirements of such paragraph (d).
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(a) The City Planning Commission may permit arenas, auditoriums or stadiums with a capacity in excess of 2,500 seats, or trade expositions with a rated capacity in excess of 2,500 persons, provided that the following findings are made:
(1) that the principal vehicular access for such use is not located on a local street but is located on an arterial highway, a major street or a secondary street within one-quarter mile of an arterial highway or major street;
(2) that such use is so located as to draw a minimum of vehicular traffic to and through local streets in nearby residential areas;
(3) that such use is not located within 200 feet of a Residence District;
(4) that adequate reservoir space at the vehicular entrance, and sufficient vehicular entrances and exits, are provided to prevent traffic congestion;
(5) that vehicular entrances and exits for such use are provided separately and are located not less than 100 feet apart; and
(6) that due consideration has been given to the proximity of bus and rapid transit facilities to serve such use.
(b) In Community District 7 in the Borough of the Bronx, the Commission may permit an indoor arena with a maximum seating capacity of 6,000 within 200 feet of a Residence District and, in conjunction with such arena, permit modifications of the provisions of Sections 32-64 (Surface Area and Illumination Provisions), 32-655 (Height of signs in all other Commercial Districts), and 36-62 (Required Accessory Off-street Loading Berths), provided that:
(1) the provisions of paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(4), (a)(5) and (a)(6) of this Section are met;
(2) open space surrounding such arena will be located and arranged to provide adequate pedestrian gathering areas to minimize disruption to the surrounding areas;
(3) the arena includes noise attenuation features and measures which serve to reduce arena-related noise in the surrounding area, including at nearby residences;
(4) where Sections 32-64 and 32-655 are modified, a signage plan has been submitted showing the location, size, height and illumination of all signs on the zoning lot, and the Commission finds that all such signs, and any illumination from or directed upon such signs, are located and arranged so as to minimize any negative effects from the arena use on nearby residences; and
(5) where Section 36-62 is modified, a loading plan has been submitted that addresses the operational needs of all servicers of the arena and shows the number, location and arrangement of all loading berths on the zoning lot, and the Commission finds that such loading plan is adequate to address the loading demand generated by the arena use and has received assurances that the arena operator will implement such plan in accordance with its terms.
The Commission may prescribe appropriate conditions and safeguards to minimize adverse effects on the character of the surrounding area, including limitations on signs, requirements for soundproofing of arenas or auditoriums, shielding of floodlights, screening of open uses or surfacing all access roads or driveways. The Commission may also prescribe requirements for pedestrian-accessible open areas surrounding the arena, auditorium or stadium, including accessory directional or building identification signs located therein. In addition, within Pennsylvania Station Subarea B4 of the Special Hudson Yards District, design changes to existing plazas located within such pedestrian-accessible open areas may be made without a certification by the Chairperson of the Commission pursuant to Section 37-625, and the design standards of Section 37-70, inclusive, shall not apply to such plazas.