June 11, 2018 By Christian Murray
Community Board 2 voted last Thursday to approve the city’s plan to restrict hotel development in manufacturing zones.
The board begrudgingly approved the plan, upset that the restriction would not apply to the Special Long Island City District, a roughly 40-block section from Hunters Point to Dutch Kills.
The special district is an area already inundated with hotels, where they are located alongside residential and industrial buildings.
However, the board did not want to disrupt the city’s overarching plan, and included with the vote a provision that City Planning come back and review the Special District.
The city’s proposal, known as the M1 Hotel Text Zoning Text Amendment, would require hotel developers to obtain a special permit—requiring a lengthy public approval process—to build in M1 districts throughout the city. The city aims to protect manufacturing industrial zones from the encroachment of hotels that are changing the fabric of many industrial areas.
The city says that rampant hotel development in M1 zoning districts, where hotel development is allowed as of right, has created myriad problems. For instance, hotels are driving some businesses out of some manufacturing areas.
Alexis Wheeler, with the Dept. of City Planning, told the board Thursday that the purpose of the restriction is to “keep industrial business zones intact.”
Mixed-used zones, such as the Special Long Island City District, are excluded since the infrastructure is in place to support hotel development, City Planning has said. Areas near the airport are also excluded.
The new permit would require developers to not only go through the lengthy public process but also prove that their development would not be undermining the industrial fabric of the area. Other restrictions also apply.
Wheeler told the community board that the city would have to scrap the entire hotel text amendment if it were to make changes to include the Special District.
The board therefore voted in favor of it.