Special regulations for plazas less than 40 feet in depth
A publicly accessible open area with a maximum depth less than 40 feet measured perpendicular to any street line shall be improved in full accordance with the provisions of Section 37-70 (PUBLIC PLAZAS) as modified by Section 91-832 (Plaza improvements) and as further modified by this Section. Where a publicly accessible open area may be considered a corner public plaza, the maximum depth shall be measured from a street line to a street wall. The City Planning Commission may authorize a modification of the provisions of this Section pursuant to Section 91-842 (Authorization to modify design requirements).
(a) The provisions of Section 37-721 (Sidewalk frontage) shall not apply. In lieu thereof, the provisions of this paragraph (a) shall apply to the area of the publicly accessible open area located within 10 feet of a street line or sidewalk widening line.
(1) At least 40 percent of such area shall be free of obstructions and, in addition:
(i) to facilitate pedestrian access at least 40 percent of the frontage along each street line or sidewalk widening line of the publicly accessible open area shall be free of obstructions; and
(ii) such unobstructed access area shall extend to a depth of 10 feet measured perpendicular to the street line. The width of such access area need not be contiguous provided that no portion of such area shall have a width of less than five feet measured parallel to the street line, and at least one portion of such area shall have a width of at least eight feet measured parallel to the street line.
The requirement of this paragraph for unobstructed access may be reduced to the minimum extent necessary to allow existing walls or structures within such area to remain provided that such walls or structures do not increase in height or length along the street frontage, and all portions of the publicly accessible open area are accessible from a street, arcade or other portion of the publicly accessible open area.
(2) In the remaining 60 percent or more of such area, the provisions of paragraph (b) of Section 37-721 shall apply, except that no more than 40 continuous linear feet of any street frontage occupied by a publicly accessible open area may be obstructed. Furthermore, planters with bounding walls that exceed a height of two feet that are permitted by paragraph (g) of Section 91-832 may be located in such area.
(3) For corner public plazas, the requirements of this paragraph (a) shall apply separately to each street frontage, and the area within 10 feet of the intersection of any street and Water Street or Wall Street shall be at the same elevation as the adjoining public sidewalk, except where there is a change in elevation permitted by paragraph (e) of Section 91-832, and such area shall be free of obstructions except as may otherwise be provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this Section.
(b) The provisions of Section 37-723 (Circulation paths) shall be modified so that the required circulation path of at least eight feet clear width shall be located adjacent to the street wall and shall extend for at least 80 percent of the length of such street wall. Where there are multiple street walls, the provisions of this paragraph shall apply separately to each frontage. In addition to the obstructions that are permitted within circulation paths, moveable tables and chairs, fixed seating and planting beds not exceeding six inches above any adjacent walking surface shall also be considered permitted obstructions provided that an unobstructed path of at least five feet wide is provided.
Where an open air cafe pursuant to Section 37-73 (Kiosks and Open Air Cafes) is provided adjacent to a building wall, such open air cafe may occupy a portion of the required circulation path provided that there is an unobstructed clear path of at least six feet wide between the building wall and any furnishings of the open air cafe. The unobstructed path shall be included in the calculation of the area occupied by the open air cafe.
(c) The provisions of Section 37-741 (Seating) that require seating within 15 feet of the street line shall not apply to street frontages that measure less than 40 feet in length.
(d) The provisions of Section 37-742 (Planting and trees) shall be further modified as follows:
(1) For publicly accessible open areas with an area less than 2,000 square feet, the number of required trees shall be reduced to two, and only one tree shall be required to be planted flush-to-grade or planted at grade within planting beds with no raised curbs or railings, except as may be modified by paragraph (g) of Section 91-832.
(2) The total area of required planting beds may not be concentrated within one continuous planter or planting bed, except when a publicly accessible open area has an area of 1,000 square feet or less.
(e) The provisions of Section 37-746 (Drinking fountains) shall be modified to require only publicly accessible open areas containing an area of 2,000 square feet or more to provide a minimum of one drinking fountain.