Towering Defeat

Department of City Planning rejects residents’ move to trigger ULURP on Two Bridges towers

Development East News
Renderings of towers to be built in the Two Bridges neighborhood. (Image via City Realty)
Renderings of towers to be built in the Two Bridges neighborhood. (Image via City Realty)

The Department of City Planning (DCP) rejected a request from elected officials for a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for the Two Bridges neighborhood on Manhattan’s lower east side.

Previously, The Architect’s Newspaper reported on the profusion of skyscrapers set to blossom on the waterfrontL+M Development and the CIM Group (Two Bridges Associates) are planning a residential complex near JDS Development Group’SHoP-designed 77-story tower, while Starrett Corporation may build a riverside 60-story tower. Rounding out the developments is Extell’s One Manhattan West, an 80-story luxury condo that will be open to residents in three years.

In a letter to City Planning Commission chair Carl Weisbrod, city council member Margaret Chin asked for reform of the ULURP process for three planned towers along the East River. The ULURP would have sent developers’ plans back to the neighborhood’s community board, borough president, and ultimately the city council for review.

Weisbrod responded August 11 to say that, because the towers are going to be built as-of-right, DCP sees the developments as “minor modifications” not the “major modifications” that would trigger a ULURP, The Lo-Down reports. He added: “I agree that the development contemplated here is significant when each proposed development is considered individually, and that the potential impacts to the surrounding neighborhood require unique consideration when the three proposed projects are assessed cumulatively.”

The developers have agreed to a “coordinated review” of the proposals, Weisbrod continued, and the city will mandate an Environmental Impact Statement with the applications.

Chin released a statement following Weisbrod’s memo:

We are disappointed by the decision not to treat this as a major modification to the Large Scale plan, but are encouraged by the requirement of an Environmental Impact Statement that will address the cumulative impact of these planned developments in the Two Bridges neighborhood. We look forward to working with City Planning, other elected officials, and the community to mitigate the impacts of development, and to make sure the community’s voices are heard.

Weisbrod’s full memo and Chin’s response can be found here.

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