West Village project rejected again

By Catherine Contiguglia | February 15, 2008 05:51PM

Architect-developer Peter Moore hasn’t had much luck in the Far West Village. His proposed rezoning of a five-block area, which would clear the way for a 560-unit residential development, has been rejected by a community board.

This isn’t the first time his project at 627 Greenwich Street has run into trouble. In 2003, the City Council denied approval after Speaker Christine Quinn voiced concerns.

At a Community Board 2 hearing Thursday night, several residents opposed rezoning the commercial area between Barrow, Clarkson, West and Hudson streets to mixed-use. Residents said they feared Moore’s project would be the first of many residential developments that would change the neighborhood’s character and bring in too many new schoolchildren and too much traffic.

“This is going to be an incentive plan for landlords of buildings to sell out,” said Carol Feinman, a member of the Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront.

Representatives of Moore said the community was leaving itself open to large hotels or office buildings that could be built under the current zoning, which imposes no height limit. The proposed rezoning would create a height limit of 125 feet.

The threat of big new residential developments might not materialize, said

Jay Segal, who represented Moore. Several property holders in the area, including Trinity Church and the Koppers Chocolate Specialty Company, have promised their buildings would remain commercial.

Brad Hoylman, chairman of the community board, said the developer should have dealt more directly with the community, but he left open the possibility that the rezoning could still happen.

“I wish this had come more organically, with community input from the get-go,” he said. “I hope if we create [new] zoning, it is more community driven.”

The community board’s recommendation is non-binding. The city’s Planning Department and the City Council must ultimately approve the rezoning. In 2003, the Planning Department approved the rezoning before the Council rejected it.