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Chapter 8 Special West Chelsea District (WCH)

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98-00 General Purposes
The "Special West Chelsea District" established in this Resolution, is designed to promote and protect public health, safety, general welfare and amenity. These general goals include among others, the following specific purposes:
  1. to encourage and guide the development of West Chelsea as a dynamic mixed use neighborhood;
  2. to encourage the development of residential uses along appropriate avenues and streets;
  3. to encourage and support the growth of arts-related uses in West Chelsea;
  4. to facilitate the restoration and reuse of the High Line elevated rail line as an accessible, public open space through special height and setback regulations, High Line improvement bonuses and the transfer of development rights from the High Line Transfer Corridor;
  5. to ensure that the form and use of new buildings relates to and enhances neighborhood character and the High Line open space;
  6. to create and provide a transition to the lower-scale Chelsea Historic District to the east;
  7. to create and provide a transition to the Hudson Yards area to the north; and
  8. to promote the most desirable use of land in the area and thus to conserve the value of land and buildings, and thereby protect the City's tax revenues, consistent with the foregoing purposes.
98-01 Definitions
Definitions specifically applicable to this Chapter are set forth in this Section. The definitions of other defined terms are as set forth in Section 12-10 (DEFINITIONS).

        
High Line
The "High Line" shall, for the purposes of this Chapter, refer to the elevated rail line structure and associated elevated easement located between Gansevoort Street and West 30th Street.

 
High Line bed
The "High Line bed" is the highest level of the horizontal surface (platform) of the High Line elevated rail line structure as of June 23, 2005, as shown in Diagram 7 in Appendix C of this Chapter. For the purposes of this Chapter, the level of the High Line bed is the average level of the High Line bed on a zoning lot over which the High Line passes.

 
High Line frontage
"High Line frontage" is that portion of a building that faces and is located within 15 feet of the west side and 25 feet of the east side of the High Line.

 
High Line Transfer Corridor
The "High Line Transfer Corridor" is an area within which the High Line is located, as specified in Appendix B of this Chapter, where development rights may be transferred to receiving sites in certain subareas in the Special West Chelsea District, pursuant to the provisions of Section 98-30 (HIGH LINE TRANSFER CORRIDOR), inclusive.
98-02 General Provisions
The provisions of this Chapter shall apply to any zoning lot, or portion thereof, within the Special West Chelsea District, except that the provisions of Sections 98-11 (Special Regulations for Developments and Enlargements Above, Beneath or Adjacent to the High Line) and 98-16 (Air Space Over a Railroad or Transit Right-of-way or Yard) shall also apply to any zoning lot south of the Special West Chelsea District over which the High Line passes. The regulations of all other Chapters of this Resolution are applicable, except as superseded, supplemented or modified by the provisions of this Chapter. In the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Chapter and other regulations of this Resolution, the provisions of this Chapter shall control. However, in flood zones, in the event of a conflict between the provisions of this Chapter and the provisions of Article VI, Chapter 4 (Special Regulations Applying in Flood Zones), the provisions of Article VI, Chapter 4, shall control.
The provisions regarding the transfer of floor area set forth in Section 98-30 (HIGH LINE TRANSFER CORRIDOR), inclusive, and the High Line Improvement Bonus in Subareas D, E, F, G and I set forth in Section 98-25 shall be effective upon the issuance of a final and binding Certificate of Interim Trail Use (CITU) by the Federal Surface Transportation Board and the execution of a trail use agreement between the City and CSX Transportation, Inc., or its successor, with respect to the High Line, or upon a determination by the Office of the Corporation Counsel that the restoration and reuse of the High Line as an accessible, public open space has been obtained pursuant to an alternative mechanism that protects the interests of the city.
Upon transfer of the High Line to the City, pursuant to ULURP application C 050163 PCM, and in accordance with such CITU and trail use agreement, the following shall apply:
  1. the provisions regarding the issuance of building permits set forth in Section 98-11 shall be effective;
  2. any area within the tax lot located at Section 3, Block 8224, Lot 111, as of June 23, 2005, which is separated from other portions of such tax lot by bounding streets, shall be considered a separate zoning lot; and
  3. underlying use and bulk regulations shall not apply to uses and buildings and other structures constructed on the High Line specifically in connection with its use as a public open space.
98-03 District Plan and Maps
The regulations of this Chapter are designed to implement the Special West Chelsea District Plan.
The District Plan includes the following maps and illustrative diagrams in Appendices A, B and C and the special regulations in Appendices D, E and F:

Appendix A - Special West Chelsea District and Subareas

Appendix B - High Line Transfer Corridor Location

Appendix C - Illustrative Diagrams of the High Line and Building Envelopes for Sites Adjacent to the High Line

Diagram 1 - Street Wall and High Line Frontage Regulations in Subareas C, F and G

Diagram 2 - Street Wall and High Line Frontage Regulations in Subarea A

Diagram 3 - Subarea H Requirements

Diagram 4 - High Line Improvement Area Boundaries for Zoning Lots Divided by District Boundaries in Subareas D, E and G

Diagram 5 - Subarea I Requirements between West 16th and West 17th Streets

Diagram 6 - High Line Access Easement Volume Parameters

Diagram 7 - High Line Bed and Frontages

Appendix D - Special Regulations for Zoning Lots Utilizing the High Line Improvement Bonus in Subarea H

Appendix E - Special Regulations for Zoning Lots Utilizing the High Line Improvement Bonus and Located Partially Within Subareas D, E, G or I

Appendix F - Special Regulations for Zoning Lots Utilizing the High Line Improvement Bonus and Located Within Subarea J.
The maps and diagrams are hereby incorporated and made part of this Resolution. They are incorporated for the purpose of illustrating requirements or specifying locations where the special regulations and requirements set forth in this Chapter shall apply.
98-04 Subareas and High Line Transfer Corridor
In order to carry out the provisions of this Chapter, Subareas A through K and a High Line Transfer Corridor are established within the Special West Chelsea District.
Within each of the Subareas and the High Line Transfer Corridor, certain special regulations apply that do not apply within the remainder of the Special West Chelsea District. The locations of the Subareas are shown in Appendix A of this Chapter. The location of the High Line Transfer Corridor is shown in Appendix B of this Chapter.
The Subareas and the High Line Transfer Corridor are subject to all other regulations of the Special West Chelsea District and the underlying district regulations, except as otherwise specified in this Chapter.
98-05 Applicability of District Regulations
98-051 Applicability of Article I, Chapter 1
Within the Special West Chelsea District, Section 11-332 (Extension of period to complete construction) shall apply, except that notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of such Section, in the event that other construction for which a building permit has been lawfully issued and for which construction has been commenced but not completed on June 23, 2005, such other construction may be continued provided that the construction is completed and a temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy is obtained not later than June 23, 2006.
98-10 Special Use and Parking Regulations Within the Special West Chelsea District
98-11 Special Regulations for Developments and Enlargements Above, Beneath or Adjacent to the High Line
The Commissioner of Buildings shall not issue any building permit for demolition, excavation or foundation work to be performed above or beneath the High Line or within 25 feet of support structures of the High Line, except by determination by such Commissioner that such work would not adversely affect the structural integrity of the High Line and by determination by the Commissioner of Parks that such work would not adversely affect the City's ability to inspect and maintain as necessary to ensure the structural integrity of the High Line.
98-12 Modification of Use Regulations
The use regulations of the underlying districts are modified by the provisions of this Section, inclusive.
98-121 In Subarea H
In Subarea H, the provisions of Section 32-25 (Use Group 16), paragraph D (Heavy Service, Wholesale or Storage Establishments) are modified to permit, in C6 Districts, warehouse uses only in cellars located wholly below curb level.
98-122 In Subarea K
In Subarea K, the provisions of Section 42-10 (USES PERMITTED AS-OF-RIGHT), inclusive, shall be modified as follows:
  1. The following additional uses shall be permitted, provided that the floor space allocated to such uses does not exceed 25 percent of the total floor area of the building:
    1. from Use Groups 3 and 4, all uses, not otherwise permitted by the underlying regulations, other than those with sleeping accommodations;
    2. from Use Group 6A, food stores, including supermarkets, grocery stores or delicatessen stores, larger than 10,000 square feet;
    3. from Use Groups 6C, 9A, and 12B, all uses not otherwise permitted by the underlying regulations; or
    4. from Use Group 10A, all uses, not otherwise permitted by the underlying regulations, provided that the floor space allocated to such uses does not exceed 10 percent of the total floor area of the building.
98-123 Adult Establishments
The provisions of Section 52-77 (Termination of Adult Establishments) shall not apply to any adult establishment that located within the Special West Chelsea District after October 25, 1995 and prior to May 25, 2005, and which, as of May 25, 2005 and June 22, 2005, was an existing use and conformed to all provisions of Section 42-01 (Special Provisions for Adult Establishments) applicable to M1-5 Districts.
98-124 Location Within Buildings
In any C6 District in the Special West Chelsea District, the provisions of Section 32-422 (Location of floors occupied by commercial uses) are modified to permit commercial uses on the same story as a residential use or on a story higher than that occupied by residential uses, provided that the commercial uses:
  1. are located in a portion of the building that has separate direct access to the street with no access to the residential portion of the building at any story; and
  2. are not located directly over any portion of a building containing dwelling units, except this limitation shall not preclude the location of:
    1. residential lobby space below or on the same story as commercial uses; or
    2. a commercial use that fronts on the High Line and is located within five feet of the level of the High Line bed.
98-13 Modification of Use Regulations in M1 Districts
In the Special West Chelsea District, the provisions of Sections 42-10 (USES PERMITTED AS-OF-RIGHT) and 42-30 (USES PERMITTED BY SPECIAL PERMIT) are modified to permit, as-of-right, without limitation, in M1 Districts, museums and non-commercial art galleries as listed in Use Group 3.
98-14 Ground Floor Use and Transparency Requirements on Tenth Avenue
Except in Subarea J, the special ground floor use and glazing regulations of this Section apply to that portion of a building or other structure fronting on Tenth Avenue in the Special West Chelsea District. Ground floor uses in Subarea J shall be governed by the underlying use regulations as modified by Section 98-13 (Modification of Use Regulations in M1 Districts).
Uses within stories that have a floor level within five feet of curb level, and within 25 feet of the street line, shall be limited to commercial uses permitted by the underlying district or museums or non-commercial art galleries as listed in Use Group 3. A building's street frontage shall be allocated exclusively to such uses, except for lobby space or entryways. In no event shall the length of street frontage occupied by lobby space or entryways exceed, in total, 40 feet or 50 percent of the building's total street frontage, whichever is less.
For any building or portion of a building developed or enlarged after June 23, 2005, each ground floor street wall shall be glazed with materials which may include show windows, glazed transoms or glazed portions of doors. Such glazed area shall occupy at least 70 percent of such ground floor street wall surface. The lowest point at any point of transparency that is provided to satisfy the requirements of this Section shall be not higher than two feet above the level of the adjoining sidewalk or public access area and shall be no less than eight feet in height measured from such lowest point. Not less than 50 percent of such ground floor street wall surface shall be glazed with transparent materials, and up to 20 percent of such ground floor street wall may be glazed with translucent materials.
98-141 Transparency Requirements Within Subareas H and I
The transparency requirements of this Section shall apply to all portions of buildings developed or enlarged after June 23, 2005, within the High Line frontage of Subareas H and I, except for such portions that contain dwelling units. At least 70 percent of the area of such frontage, to be measured from a point not lower than four feet and not higher than eight feet above the level of the High Line bed shall be glazed and transparent and at least 75 percent of such glazed surface shall be fully transparent.
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