From LIC Post:
The public will have its first opportunity to weigh in on the plans put forward by the owner of the 5 Pointz graffiti building—who wants to demolish it and replace it with two residential towers.
A public hearing has been scheduled for May 22, at 7pm at MoMA PS1, which is located at 22-25 Jackson Avenue. Testimony from that hearing will be taken into consideration by Community Board 2, when it decides whether to recommend the development proposal to the city planning commission.
The debate is not whether David Wolkoff, the owner of 5 Pointz, will be permitted to demolish the structure. He has the right to do that under the existing zoning law.
The primary reason for the public hearing deals with Wolkoff’s application for a special permit that would allow him to increase the scale of the two buildings above existing zoning code.
Wolkoff plans to erect two residential towers that would contain 1,000 market-rate rental units. One tower would be 47 stories high, while the other 41 stories. The base of the two buildings would include retail shops, artists’ galleries and a 250-car parking garage.
The two buildings would be 980,000 sqf. in total–more than 5 times the size of the lot (which is the limit). Therefore, he is seeking a permit that would allow him to build 8 times the lot area. For instance, Wolkoff is permitted to build 600-units under the existing zoning code; however, he needs a special permit to allow him to build 1,000 units.
As part of Wolkoff’s plan to get the permit, he is willing to provide about 30,000 sqf. in public space—well over the 20,000 sqf. that he is required by current zoning laws. Most of the space that Wolkoff is creating is for a public park at the rear of the site.
Why does the City allow variances in places that have already been drastically upzoned? Wolkoff can't possibly be arguing that he won't get a return on his investment if he doesn't get the variance.