Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer invoked the little-used “triple no” provision of the City Charter to force a City Council vote on a controversial special permit application for a development project at 42 West 18th Street in Chelsea. Immediately following the City Planning Commission’s narrow approval of the application at a meeting this morning, Brewer sent a formal letter of objection (below) to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod.
“One of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program’s biggest selling points was creating affordable housing wherever the city gives out special permits that allow more residential development,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This project doesn’t include the affordable housing the law requires, and the arguments that it should be exempt are simply wrong.”
The planned development, nicknamed “Adorama” for the camera store in the site’s existing building, would result in a new building with more than 25,000 additional square feet and 26 additional residential apartments compared to the existing building. Yet despite this substantial increase in residential floor area and units, the Planning Commission did not require the project to comply with the affordable housing requirements of the new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. The Planning Commission approved the application this morning with seven yes votes, three abstentions, and three commissioners absent.