Saturday, April 18, 2015, this snippet is from mid-afternoon, but they started at 8am.
It fell to Curbed to break the news of what, exactly, Quinlan-Tavros has in store for 180 Sixth Avenue. They’re going to start by changing the address to “One Vandam.” Much tonier than 180 Sixth, don’t you think? And then, this architectural monstrosity — reminiscent of the Borg spacecraft from the Star Trek series — will descend on our peaceful South Village neighborhood. Notice that the building towers over everything in sight. That’s exactly what they have in mind: building an out-of-scale, heedless-to-context nightmare that maximizes their height and square footage at the expense of everything and everyone in their way.
That’s why it’s so utterly irksome to so see the sign outside the construction site, where they’ve just torn down one of the oldest trees on the block. The finer print reads: “New York City has a variety of projects, both public and private, which when completed will improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.” Really? All New Yorkers? Tell that to the neighbors who’ve recently had the trees that shade their windows chopped down, the back walls of their gardens knocked over, the air quality in their neighborhood obliterated by dust and diesel fumes, and their homes subjected to the din of demolition and construction from dawn until dusk. But the architects of record, BKSK Architects, claim that “One Vandam” will be LEED-certified — a so-called “green building” — so that makes it all okay? Not really. Not at all. The only sort of green Quinlan-Tavros is concerned about comes off of U.S. Treasury presses. We’re not talking green, we’re talking greed.
An 18-story tower, retail space, and a parking garage have been proposed for the quiet Sullivan Street block between Broome and Spring. An application for a zoning variance has been filed for this location. The developer has long planned to build a hotel tower on this site, which the zoning for the site allows. He is now seeking a zoning variance to allow the development to be residential, which the zoning for this site currently does not allow. You can read more about the application by downloading the variance documents HERE.
An 18-story tower at this site is not appropriate, whatever the use. The tower will cast additional shadows on Vesuvio Playground and SoHo Square. The site is located within the South Village Historic District that has been proposed since 2006 (and which the City has still not agreed to move on). And nearly all the sites in the surrounding neighborhood which are zoned for residential development only allow new development at a much more limited scale – about 31% smaller than the proposed development.
- be at the size and density which is allowed for residential development in the surrounding area
- keep any tower developed on the south portion of the lot, where the tower will be somewhat less intrusive (as is proposed, but not required, in the variance plan)
- allocate 20% of the units as affordable middle-income housing, and,
- include a public-use space (either a meeting space in the retail facility, or a public outdoor space).
WHAT YOU CAN DO
ATTEND the Community Board #2 Land Use Committee public hearing on the variance on Wednesday, June 12 at the Little Red Schoolhouse Auditorium, 272 Sixth Avenue (Bleecker Street) and urge the Community Board to only approve a variance for residential use if the size of the development is consistent with what the residential zoning for the surrounding neighborhood allows and if the developer provides appropriate contributions to the life of the neighborhood in the form of affordable housing and/or community space. The meeting begins at 6:30 pm, and this is the 3rd and final item on the agenda.
WRITE to the Community Board at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your concerns and comments (please copy email@example.com).
PRINT AND POST this flyer in your building to keep your offline neighbors informed.
It’s been a noisy week for those of us who live near the Quinlan-Tavros demolition site at 178-180 Sixth Avenue where a Sleepy’s Mattress Store once stood. As it turns out, it’s been noisier than it ought to be: DiSano Demolition (ph: 718-961-3700) — the company hired by QT to demolish the Sleepy’s building — is not in compliance with New York City’s noise mitigation regulations for construction sites. They are required to:
• muffle their jackhammer and other equipment,
• post a noise mitigation plan, and
• comply with their noise mitigation plan.
They have done exactly none of the above. This is consistent with QT’s and God’s Love We Deliver’s complete disregard for the health and well-being of their neighbors. The noise regulation rules are only enforced if there are complaints registered. So if you live nearby and are suffering with the sound of jackhammering for hours on end, please complain about the noise – loudly and often.
The DiSano jackhammer-crane has been generating noise peaking at 115 decibels in our apartment — more than 150 feet from the demolition site and behind sealed double-paned windows. For folks closer – on the ground floors, for example – the din was much worse. This is a health issue for our neighborhood: noise at this level is damaging to your hearing and is linked to cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension.
It’s worth noting that NYU is being required by the City to provide sound proofing windows and special sound reducing air conditioners to Washington Square Village and Silver Tower apartments, as reported in The Villager this week. No such plan has been required of GLWD or QT, except for a few air conditioners for our neighbors at 188 Sixth Avenue.
HOW TO REGISTER CONSTRUCTION NOISE COMPLAINTS
1) BY PHONE: Call 311 and say that you want to make a construction noise complaint to a Department of Environmental Protection operator. They should connect you to a specialist. Complain about the noise level, complain about the lack of a noise mitigation plan, and complain that no noise mitigation plan is posted.
If you have a decibel meter in your smart phone, please report the decibel readings you are getting and your approximate distance from the jackhammer/crane. (There are more than 70 free or inexpensive decibel meter apps available for the iPhone, for example. I imagine many are also available for the Android and other smart phones.)
2) ONLINE: Go to the 311 Online page and complete the relevant information. [Please note this is a new link, updated 10/4/13: you now have to go to a link that says “Make a Complaint” and then choose from a drop-down menu. If you want to make a complaint for after hours construction and a complaint for noise, you will need to file two separate complaints.]
3) POST your Complaint Number on the Google Group if you are a subscriber to the Google Group.
4) CALL Speaker Christine Quinn’s office (212-564-7757) and tell her team what her $8 million dollar contribution of taxpayer funds to GLWD – her contribution of our tax funds – is doing to your quality of life. Let her know how you feel about this in light of her current campaign to occupy the Mayor’s office.
The South Village Neighbors Legal Fund has raised $3,400 in just two weeks. Donations have ranged from $20 up to a $1,000 pledge that we will match. We are only $1,600 away from our goal of $5000 to retain a land use attorney to stop the God’s Love We Deliver-QT development scheme at 180 Sixth Avenue. Even with all of this great work, we have to remember that this is what we’re up against: an 80,000 square foot, 15-story luxury condominium tower and ground floor retail space, built at our expense.
That’s why we’re redoubling our efforts:
- Last week a group of South Village neighbors testified against the GLWD-QT Development scheme at the Office of Citywide Administrative Services. The folks from GLWD and QT were awfully surprised to see us there, and the representative from the Mayor’s Office seemed fairly impressed by our arguments. While this testimony may have little impact on the Mayor’s decision regarding the air rights deal, it is part of the public record if we ever wind up in court with our opponents. Read more about it here.
- Six hundred fundraising flyers about the South Village Legal Fund have been distributed in buildings and businesses around the neighborhood this weekend. If you receive a flyer and don’t need it, please consider asking your drycleaner, bakery, coffee shop, drugstore, newsstand, barber’s shop or grocer to post it. We’ve found that neighborhood merchants are eager to help when asked by the people they see all the time.
- We’ve reached out to the Friends of Vesuvio Park for their support as the children’s pool at the playground will lose much of its summer sunshine if the GLWD-QT development proceeds as planned. Read more about this here. And next Sunday St. Anthony’s Church will include news about South Village Neighbors and our efforts in their parish bulletin.
If you have already supported the South Village Legal Fund, we thank you on behalf of the whole neighborhood. Perhaps you would consider speaking to a neighbor who hasn’t yet contributed? This is very much a grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor effort to save our skyline, our playgrounds, and our sunshine across three affected public spaces: Vesuvio Playground (bet. Thompson/Sullivan), Soho Square (at Spring/Sixth) and Father Fagan Square (at Prince/Sixth).
And if you haven’t had a chance to give yet, we urge you to do so today. No contribution is too small. $300, $200, $100, $50 . . . it all helps. After the backhoes and pile drivers arrive, it may just be too late to stop them. We would not want you to regret that you didn’t act today.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE:
|BY CHECK||VIA PAYPAL|
|1. Make a check to SoHo Alliance for $500, $300, $250, $100 or whatever you can afford (no contribution is too small).
2. Note South Village Legal Fund in the memo line.
3. Mail or drop off your check with Barbara North, who has kindly agreed to manage the bookkeeping on this: Barbara North, 100 Sullivan Street, Apt 1E, New York, NY 10012.
|1. Visit www.sohoalliance.org/join.html.
2. Enter the amount you’d like to donate and click on “PayPal”.
3. Just before you pay you will have the opportunity to designate your donation for the legal fund. When you see the “Your order summary” page, enter South Village Legal Fund in the box for description. This will earmark your donation for 180 Sixth Avenue challenge.
For decades neighborhood kids and their families have enjoyed Vesuvio Playground and its children’s swimming pool. Back when it was called Thompson Square Playground, many of us took our kids there – to swing, run around, splash and play in the sun. We’d like to preserve this treasured resource for today’s families and future generations. The GLWD-QT Development 180 Sixth Avenue towers will cast long shadows on the playground and pool — even on June 21st, the longest, sunniest day of the year. Their own shadow studies show it clearly. Save the sunshine at Vesuvio — stop the 180 Sixth Avenue development by supporting our legal fund.