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Chapter 8 - Special Union Square District (US)

The City of New York
Bill de Blasio, Mayor
City Planning Commission
Marisa Lago, Chair

The "Special Union Square District" established in this Resolution is designated to promote and protect public health, safety, general welfare and amenity. These general goals include, among others, the following specific purposes:

(a)        to promote a revitalized mixed-use area around Union Square by encouraging controlled development on vacant and under-utilized sites within the District;

(b)        to stimulate such growth while providing guidelines which will ensure urban design compatibility between new development, existing buildings and Union Square and which will preserve and enhance the special character of the Square;

(c)        to stabilize the area through residential development and thereby encourage active utilization of Union Square Park;

(d)        to enhance the retail and service nature and economic vitality of 14th Street by mandating appropriate retail and service activities;

(e)        to improve the physical appearance and amenity of the streets within the District by establishing streetscape and signage controls which are compatible to Union Square Park;

(f)        to improve access, visibility, security and pedestrian circulation in and around the 14th Street/Union Square Station; and

(g)        to promote the most desirable use of land in this area and thus conserve the value of land and buildings and thereby protect the City's tax revenues.

In harmony with the general purpose and intent of this Resolution and the general purposes of the Special Union Square District and in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter, certain specified use, bulk and sign regulations of the underlying district are made inapplicable and are superseded by the use, bulk and sign regulations of the Special Union Square District as set forth in this Chapter. In addition, special street wall transparency and location of entrance requirements are set forth in this Chapter. Except as modified by the express provisions of this Chapter, the underlying district regulations remain in effect.

The District Plan of the Special Union Square District is set forth in Appendix A and is incorporated as an integral part of the provisions of this Chapter.

Uses within stories that have a floor level within five feet of curb level along 14th Street shall be limited to the uses listed in this Section, except that entrances to above-grade or below-grade uses are permitted, subject to the regulations set forth in Section 118-41 (Entrances on 14th Street).

These regulations shall apply to developments, enlargements, extensions and changes of use.

Antique stores

Art galleries, commercial

Artists' supply stores

Automobile rental offices

Bakeries, provided that floor area used for production shall be limited to 750 square feet per establishment

Banks

Barber shops

Beauty parlors

Bicycle sales, rental or repair shops

Book stores

Candy or ice cream stores

Carpet, rug, linoleum, or other floor covering stores, with no limitation on floor area per establishment

Cigar or tobacco stores

Clothing or clothing accessory stores, with no limitation on floor area per establishment

Clothing rental establishments, limited to 10,000 square feet on floor area per establishment

Department stores

Drug stores

Dry cleaning or clothes pressing establishments or receiving stations dealing directly with ultimate consumers, limited to 2,000 square feet of floor area per establishment, and provided that only solvents with a flash point of not less than 138.2 degrees Fahrenheit shall be used, and a total aggregate load capacity of machines shall not exceed 60 pounds

Dry goods or fabric stores, with no limitation of floor area per establishment

Eating or drinking establishments including those which provide outdoor table service, or have music for which there is no cover charge and no specified showtime

Eating or drinking establishments, with entertainment but not dancing, with a capacity of 200 persons or fewer

Eating or drinking establishments, with musical entertainment but not dancing, with a capacity of 200 persons or fewer

Eating or drinking places without restrictions on entertainment or dancing, but limited to locations in hotels

Fishing tackle or equipment, rental or sales

Florist shops

Food stores, including supermarkets, grocery stores, meat markets or delicatessen stores

Furniture stores, with no limitation on floor area per establishment

Furrier shops, custom

Gift shops

Hardware stores

Interior decorating establishments, provided that floor area used for processing, servicing or repairs shall be limited to 750 square feet per establishment

Jewelry or art metal craft shops

Laundry establishments, hand or automatic self-service

Leather goods or luggage stores

Medical or orthopedic appliance stores

Millinery shops

Music stores

Newsstands, open or enclosed

Office or business machine stores with no limitations on floor area per establishment

Optician or optometrist establishments

Package liquor stores

Paint stores

Pet shops

Photographic developing or photographic printing establishments limited to 2,500 square feet per establishment

Photographic equipment or supply stores

Photographic studios

Picture framing shops

Record stores

Seed or garden supply stores

Sewing machine stores, selling household machines only

Shoe or hat repair shops

Shoe stores

Sporting or athletic stores

Stamp or coin stores

Telegraph offices

Television, radio, phonograph or household appliance stores with no limitation on floor area per establishment

Toy stores

Travel bureaus

Typewriter stores

Variety stores, with no limitation on floor area per establishment

Wallpaper stores

Watch or clock stores or repair shops

On street walls fronting on 14th Street, no sign may be located more than 25 feet above curb level.

Signs on street walls fronting on all other streets within the Special District shall be subject to the provisions of paragraph (e) of Section 32-435 (Ground floor use in high density Commercial Districts).

Flashing signs are not permitted within the Special District.

The maximum floor area ratio permitted on property bounded by:

(a)        Broadway, a line midway between East 14th Street and East 13th Street, a line 100 feet west of University Place, Union Square West and Broadway, a line midway between East 17th Street and East 18th Street, a line 100 feet east of Park Avenue South and Union Square East, East 15th Street, Union Square East, East 17th Street, Union Square West and East 14th Street is 8.0; and

(b)        Broadway, a line midway between East 13th Street and East 14th Street, south prolongation of the center line of Irving Place and Irving Place, East 15th Street, Union Square East, Fourth Avenue, and East 14th Street is 10.0, except as provided in Section 118-60 (SUBWAY STATION IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THE SPECIAL UNION SQUARE DISTRICT).

In no event, shall the commercial floor area ratio exceed 6.0.

The density regulations of Section 23-20 shall not apply. Instead, for every 750 square feet of residential floor area permitted on a zoning lot, there shall be no more than one dwelling unit.

However, the conversion of non-residential buildings to residential use shall be subject to the provisions of Article I, Chapter 5 (Residential Conversion Within Existing Buildings).

The location and height above curb level of the street wall of any development or enlargement shall be as shown in the District Plan (Appendix A). However, if a development or enlargement is adjacent to one or more existing buildings fronting on the same street line, the street wall of such development or enlargement shall be located neither closer to nor further from the street line than the front wall of the adjacent building which is closest to the same street line.

Street wall recesses are permitted below the level of the second story ceiling for subway stair entrances required under Section 118-50 (OFF STREET RELOCATION OF A SUBWAY STAIR WITHIN THE SPECIAL UNION SQUARE DISTRICT). Such recesses shall be no longer than 15 feet and no deeper than eight feet or the width or length of the relocated subway stair, whichever is greater.

Street wall recesses are also permitted below the level of the second story ceiling for building or store entrances only.

A sky exposure plane of 2.5 to 1 shall begin at a height above curb level of 125 feet on all streets within the Special District, except that on a narrow street beyond 100 feet from any street line opposite a public park or from the intersection of such narrow street with a wide street, the sky exposure plane shall begin at a height above curb level of 85 feet.

No development or enlargement shall penetrate such sky exposure plane except pursuant to Section 33-45 (Tower Regulations). However, Section 33-45 shall not be applicable to any portion of a building located within 100 feet of a street line opposite a public park.

(a)        On a zoning lot where there is an existing building to remain, the requirements governing height and location of street walls shall not apply within a volume defined by the rear wall of the existing building (W2), the front lot line (W1), the prolongations of the side walls (L) and a height of 125 feet above curb level

If, after January 10, 1985, any demolition or destruction occurs within the volume defined, the requirements governing street wall height shall apply.

Zoning Resolutions <a class='sec-link-inline' target='_blank' href='/article-xi/chapter-8#118-31'>118-31</a>.0

EXISTING BUILDING VOLUME FOR

MODIFICATION OF STREET WALL REQUIREMENTS

(b)        The City Planning Commission may authorize modifications in the required street wall location if the Commission finds that the existing buildings, or existing open areas serving existing buildings to remain on the zoning lot, would be adversely affected by the location of the street walls of the development, enlargement or alteration in a manner prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Section.

Each permitted use within a story that has a floor level within five feet of curb level in buildings or portions of buildings with frontage on 14th Street, shall be entered directly from 14th Street. Entrances to uses located above or below such stories are permitted, provided that such entrances, in aggregate, shall not exceed 30 linear feet of street wall frontage on 14th Street.

If a use occupies at least 40 percent of the floor area of a building or portion of a building, as applicable, pursuant to Section 118-40 (ENTRANCE AND STREET WALL TRANSPARENCY REQUIREMENTS), that fronts on Union Square East, Union Square West or 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South, then the principal entrance to that use shall be located on such street. However, if more than one use meets these criteria, the principal entrance to only one of them is required to be so located.

When the street wall of any development or enlargement is located on 14th Street, Union Square East, Union Square West or 17th Street, such street wall shall be glazed in accordance with the provisions of Section 37-34 (Minimum Transparency Requirements).

Where a development or enlargement is constructed on a zoning lot of at least 5,000 square feet which fronts on a portion of sidewalk containing a stairway entrance or entrances into the 14th Street/Union Square Station, the development or enlargement shall be subject to the regulations of Section 37-40 (OFF-STREET RELOCATION OR RENOVATION OF A SUBWAY STAIR).

The City Planning Commission may, by special permit, grant residential floor area bonuses for developments or enlargements that provide major improvements on the 14th Street/Union Square Subway Station in accordance with the provisions of Section 74-634. The zoning lot for the development or enlargement on which such floor area bonus is requested shall be adjacent to the 14th Street/Union Square Subway Station or to an existing passageway to the station.

As part of the special permit, the Commission may modify the street wall regulations of Section 118-30 (STREET WALL HEIGHT AND SETBACK REGULATIONS) if it finds that such major improvements cannot be provided without modifications of these provisions.

Appendix A

UNION SQUARE DISTRICT PLAN

Street walls shall be coincident with street lines.

Zoning Resolutions Chapter 8: Special Union Square District Appendix A.0

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