Pushing for Real Action Against Zoning Loopholes for Supertalls

An Illustration of how one ‘Supertall’ on 57th Street got so tall with the assistance of phony and unnecessary ‘mechanical voids.’
 Yesterday Village Preservation appeared before the City Planning Commission to demand the Mayor’s plan for ‘addressing’ developers’ abuse of zoning regulations with phony ‘mechanical voids’ be modified to actually address the problem rather than simply create more loopholes for them to exploit – read our testimony here.

Under current regulations, space dedicated to mechanical equipment in buildings does not count towards the number of square feet allowed to be built on the site.  Exploiting this technicality, developers have been inserting huge bogus ‘mechanical voids’ into buildings which serve no functional purpose other than to increase the size and height of their buildings, so they can sell top floor residences for ever-higher prices.  This tactic of zoning deception, to which the City has largely turned a blind eye, is one of the main reasons why there has been a proliferation of outrageously tall ‘supertall’ towers in New York in recent years. 
Map showing where supertalls with mechanical voids can currently be built (incl. Lower Fifth Avenue) and where the proposed new rules would apply.
 In response to pressure from community groups and elected officials, the City finally came out with their plan to address the issue, which was heard yesterday.  Unfortunately, the plan is full of holes, and would do little to address the problem.  Village Preservation expressed several different ways in which the plan could be amended or rethought to address the problem and protect our neighborhoods from towering shadows built upon zoning deception. 
March 14, 2019